State Dept reporter wonders: Was papal election “free and fair”?
QUESTION: Can I just ask you: Does the United States regard the election of the Pope to – that election to have met international standards for the election of a world leader? (Laughter.) He is, after all, a head of state, and a head of government. Does it follow? Does it – you routinely criticize countries or governments for having elections where there is not universal suffrage, where there is not any possibility of appealing the results, where there is not – where there were no monitors, for example. I’m wondering if this meets the standard for a free and fair election in your mind.
MS. NULAND: Well, I think the world has watched this conclave go forward as it’s gone forward in history down the centuries.
QUESTION: Today, it seems like it would be the – it’s probably the least transparent election. (Laughter.) I mean, it’s more opaque than an election in North Korea or Iraq under Saddam Hussein.