A court in southern Russia declined on Friday to review the results of a mayoral election that the losing opposition candidate claims was rigged.
The court in the Caspian port city of Astrakhan said the March 4 polls were valid.
“The court, in our opinion, eliminated the very concept of elections by its decision,” Oleg Shein, who lost the vote to a pro-Kremlin candidate, wrote on his LiveJournal blog.
Shein, who belongs to the opposition A Just Russia party, said he would appeal to the European Court of Human Rights. The dispute over the poll and Shein’s decision to go on hunger strike in protest made headlines in Russia.
Vladimir Churov, Russia’s chief electoral official, has admitted there were “procedural irregularities” at nearly a half of Astrakhan’s polling stations, but said this was not grounds to overturn the results of the vote, which came on the same day that president Vladimir Putin was elected for a third term in the Kremlin.