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French deputy mayor suspended for observing Russian election

The head of the Talant commune has said he cannot accept his subordinate’s “collusion” with Moscow

The mayor of the commune of Talant in Cote-d’Or, southern France, Fabian Ruinet, says he has decided to suspend his deputy, Cyril Gaucher, for working as an international observer during the presidential election in Russia.

Ruinet wrote on Facebook on Monday that he learned from the media that Gaucher – the deputy mayor in charge of public services, urban and rural planning, and digital technologies – traveled to Moscow to observe the vote, which took place from March 15 to 17.

The mayor claimed that his subordinate was directly “appointed by the Kremlin,” and that this information came from “several confirmed sources.”

“I cannot agree with such collusion between the Russian authorities and the elected representative of the French Republic… For this reason, I have decided to immediately suspend Cyril Gaucher from executing his duties,” Ruinet said.

Gaucher is apparently still in Russia. The mayor added that he will demand an explanation from his deputy upon returning to France.

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In a separate statement, Ruinet claimed that “the election could not have been validated” by Gaucher in any case, as the “true representative of the opposition” did not take part in the vote.

Gaucher’s Les Republicains (LR) liberal-conservative party told BFM TV that it is now considering expelling him, BFM TV reports.

“He endorses the electoral process in Russia, which is mind-boggling,” LR’s leader, Francois-Xavier Dugourd, told the outlet. The stance of the deputy mayor is “completely opposed” to that of the party, he added.

The head of the Russian Central Election Commission, Ella Pamfilova, said earlier that a total of 1,115 international observers from 129 countries, including Europe and North America, oversaw the election. Pamfilova described them as “courageous professionals” who were not afraid to come to Russia and see how the election was run for themselves, instead of trusting the “flow of lies coming from the obedient Western media.”

READ MORE: Putin scores historic win in Russian presidential election – official results

According to the official results of the election, the incumbent Vladimir Putin won his fifth term in office by a landslide, claiming 87.28% of the vote. His opponents, Communist Party candidate Nikolay Kharitonov, Vladislav Davankov of the New People party, and Leonid Slutsky of the Liberal Democrats, secured 4.31%, 3.85%, and 3.20% respectively. The election saw a turnout 77.44%, the largest ever in Russia.

March 19, 2024 at 05:20PM

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