MOSCOW, September 7 (RIA Novosti) – The day of election silence, when all political campaigning is banned for 24 hours so that voters can once again think over their choice, will be observed in Russia on Saturday.
About 7,000 elections of various types will be held in 80 Russian regions on Sunday. A total of 40 million of Russians are entitled to vote.
Residents of eight regions will choose their governors. Lawmakers of regional legislatures will be elected in 16 regions.
Members of 54 political parties, as well as independent candidates, will vie for various regional and municipal posts.
Only three regions will not go to polls on Sunday – North Caucasus republics of Kabardino-Balkaria and Ingushetia and Russia’s second largest city of St. Petersburg.
The upcoming elections will mark the first time in 10 years that residents of the Russian capital, Moscow, could choose their mayor by a popular vote.
Of the six candidates registered for the Moscow race, acting Mayor Sergei Sobyanin, a longtime associate of President Vladimir Putin, is the runaway favorite in opinion polls, trailed by opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who is battling fraud charges – which he called fabricated – parallel to his campaign.
The last day of the Moscow mayor election campaign was marked by several concerts, organized in support of candidates. The event in support of Sobyanin, with about 30,000 expected to attend, was held in the Olimpiysky sports complex. Only those employed at campaign headquarters and members of public organizations that openly supported Sobyanin were invited to attend.
The concert to support Sobyanin’s main electoral rival Navalny was held at Moscow’s Sakharov Prospect and was open for public. According to Moscow police, it was attended by some 2,500 people, ten times less than expected.