MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's presidential election was unfair and clearly skewed in favor of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, international vote monitors said on Monday.
Election observers said Putin, who official results show won about 64 percent of the vote, was given a clear advantage over his rivals in the media and that state resources were used at a regional level to support his bid for a third presidential term.
"There was no real competition, and abuse of government resources ensured that the ultimate winner of the election was never in doubt," Tonino Picula, one of the vote monitors from the Organization for Security and Co-Operation in Europe, said in a report.
"The point of elections is that the outcome should be uncertain. This was not the case in Russia," he said.
"According to our assessment, these elections were unfair," he told reporters.
The observers, from a joint team from the OSCE and the Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly, also called for alleged electoral violations in Sunday's election to be thoroughly investigated.
Monitors said they assessed voting on election day positively but that they viewed the vote count as negative at almost a third of polling stations observed.
(Reporting by Thomas Grove, writing by Guy Faulconbridge, editing by Douglas Busvine)