MOSCOW, June 5 (RIA Novosti) – Russian President Vladimir Putin accepted the resignation of Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin on Wednesday and wished him success in his run for re-election in a snap vote in September.
The mayor of Russia’s capital announced Tuesday that he would resign, triggering a snap election that would be Moscow’s first popular vote for the position in a decade.
“You and I have worked for a very long time together, and I know your potential,” Putin told Sobyanin after the latter, who is currently “acting mayor,” confirmed that he would run for re-election. “I wish you success,” Putin said.
Sobyanin’s term was due to end in 2015, and critics believe that the September 8 election date – right after the summer holidays – would give the incumbent an unfair advantage since other candidates would have very little time to campaign.
Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov and opposition leader Alexei Navany have also announced their intentions to run for mayor.
Until his appointment as mayor in 2010, Sobyanin had headed the presidential administration under Putin and then Dmitry Medvedev since 2005. He replaced former Mayor Yury Luzhkov, who was fired by then-President Medvedev, who said he had lost confidence in the man who had headed the city for 18 years.
Sobyanin’s Cabinet also resigned when the president signed the resignation letter, in accordance with Russian legislation. The mayoral term after the September elections will be five years.