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World Reaction to Russian Election Results

Prague; July 4 (RFE/RL) -- U.S. President Bill Clinton today congratulated Russian President Boris Yeltsin on his re-election and the Russian people for exercising their democracy.

Clinton said that although the final results had not yet been announced, it was clear that a substantial majority of Russians had voted for Yeltsin and for the "path of reform." He called the election result a milestone and said it bodes good news for the world.

Other leaders also hailed Yeltsin's victory, including Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski, Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev and President Leonid Kuchma of Ukraine. Kuchma said the poll result showed Russia had "pushed away the past."

Czech President Vaclav Havel also congratulated Yeltsin, saying that under his leadership Russia had undergone fundamental democratic, economic and political reforms. Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze called the runoff result a unique contribution to the victory of world democracy and burial of totalitarianism. Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi said Yeltsin's re-election heralded stability and continuity to Russia's process of democratisation. German Chancellor Helmut Kohl phoned Yeltsin to congratulate him personally. Kohl said he had no doubt Yeltsin would keep steering Russia down the path of reform and expand democratic institutions.


Major "Delighted" Over Yeltsin Victory

London -- British Prime Minister John Major Thursday hailed the re-election of Russian President Boris Yeltsin as a sign that "democracy has taken firm root in Russia."

Major said he is delighted by the successful completion of the presidential elections in Russia".

He said The vote was "not only a personal triumph for President Yeltsin but also a vote for continued political and economic reform.


Council of Europe Says Russian Elections Fair

Strasbourg, France -- Council of Europe parliamentarians, who observed the second round of Russia's presidential elections in four separate areas yesterday, concluded the vote was free and fair.

The Council said The delegation split into four groups visiting polling stations in Moscow, Dzerjinski, Jukowski and Cheboksary, capital of the Republic of Tshuvashia.

The parliamentarians came to the conclusion that the elections were well-prepared and organised in a free and fair manner."


NATO Relieved At Re-Election of Yeltsin

Brussels -- NATO officials say that Boris Yeltsin's comfortable victory in the Russian elections was greeted with relief and "enormous satisfaction," at NATO headquarters.

A senior NATO official said that Yeltsin represents the forces of democracy and of the future. he added his win over communist rival Gennady Zyuganov shows that the great majority of Russians have opted for the future and rejected the past." He said "We have perhaps just witnessed the last hurrah of communism in Russia."

NATO was now looking to Yeltsin to form a government dedicated to the path of political and economic reform and to create a team charged with establishing a solid relationship with the alliance.


Kinkel Congratulates Yeltsin, says Voters "Mature"

Bonn -- German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel today offered Russian President Boris Yeltsin hearty congratulations on his re-election. he also praised Russian voters for rejecting a return to communism.

Kinkel said the fact that the elections had taken place as planned and in a fair manner was "a victory for democracy", and justified the West's patience with the Russian reform process.

Kinkel said the reformers have retained the upper hand. He said Russia's electors have shown the maturity to reject communism. The German foreign minister said he believes that now a real new beginning in Germany's policy towards Russia is possible.

There was no immediate reaction from Chancellor Kohl, who enjoys a warm personal relationship with Yeltsin.


Yeltsin win key to Security in Europe - Chirac

Paris -- French President Jacques Chirac congratulated Russian President Boris Yeltsin on his re-election today, calling it a guarantee of peace and security in Europe.

Chirac said Yeltsin's victory is a remarkable personal success, but also an opportunity for Russia. he said in renewing confidence in its head of state, the Russian nation has proved that democracy has taken root and confirmed its commitment to free-market economic reforms.

The French leader added that Yeltsin's election to a four-year term as Russian president was "a guarantee of peace and security in Europe".