16 Dec 2011

Demands for new elections dismissed by Putin

9:01 am on 16 December 2011

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin of Russia has rejected calls to re-run recent disputed parliamentary elections.

In an annual televised live chat on Thursday, he proposed installing web cameras at polling stations to prevent fraud at the March presidential poll where he is standing.

But he insisted the parliamentary results were valid and suggested some of the protestors had been paid to demonstrate.

Mr Putin was served two terms as president from 2000 - 2008, but is now entitled to stand again.

Concern over the conduct of the elections on 4 December was expressed by foreign observers.

Protests on Saturday saw around 50,000 people turn out in Moscow.

"The fact that people express their opinion ... is an absolutely normal thing as long, of course, as everybody acts within the framework of the law," Mr Putin said.

"If this is the result of the Putin regime I am quite happy and quite content with that. I don't see anything wrong with it," he added.

Mr Putin is widely expected to win the presidential election in March. On Thursday, he blamed the United States for stoking the recent unrest.

Thursday is the deadline for independent presidential candidates to declare their bids. Political parties have until Tuesday to submit their candidates.