Kremlin Frontrunner Wins Moscow Mayoral Race

World | September 9, 2013, Monday // 12:20|  views

Sergei Sobyanin has been elected Mayor of Moscow, photo by EPA/BGNES

Sergei Sobyanin, the candidate endorsed by Russia's rulers, has won the election for mayor of Moscow.

Sobyanin secured 51.3% - just above the 50% threshold needed to avoid a runoff.

His main rival, opposition leader Alexei Navalny, gathered 27.2%.

The Communist candidate, Ivan Melnikov, came third with 10.7%.

Voter turnout in Moscow was low - 32%.

Navalny called for a runoff and refused to recognize the results, saying they had been rigged.

He warned that if he was denied a runoff, he would "appeal to the citizens and ask them to take to the streets of Moscow". City authorities have allowed Navalny to hold a rally Monday evening restricting the number of participants to 2 500.

The opposition leader is currently on bail after being found guilty of embezzlement in what he insists was a political trial.

Moscow's electoral commission is firm there had been no serious violations and dismissed any possibility of a runoff.

Sobyanin, once President Vladimir Putin's chief of staff, told supporters the election had been transparent.

In late 2011, Moscow was the scene of the biggest anti-government protests since Soviet times after a general election marred by allegations of ballot-rigging.

Mayoral elections were abolished in Moscow in 2004 but reinstated as a concession to prodemocracy campaigners.

In 2010, Yuri Luzhkov, who had governed the city for almost two decades, was fired and then-President Dmitriy Medvedev appointed Sobyanin for mayor.

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Tags: Sergei Sobyanin, Moscow, Alexei Navalny, Vladimir Putin, Dmitriy Medvedev, anti-government protests, mayor, elections, race, Ivan Melnikov


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