A candidate for the pro-Kremlin United Russia party won the mayoral elections in Krasnoyarsk, the unofficial capital of eastern Siberia, defeating 10 rivals in a first-past-the-post vote on Sunday.
Acting mayor Edkham Akbulatov scored 69 percent in the elections in the city of one million, Krasnoyarsk election officials said.
His two alleged main rivals, A Just Russia’s nominee Alexander Koropachinsky and Communist Party’s Mikhail Oskolkov, were third and fourth, respectively, with 11 and 4 percent, letting independent Alexei Podkorytov become a runner-up with 12 percent.
The turnout was at 21 percent, a source in the city’s election committee said. No major violations were reported at the elections, which were monitored by some 260 independent observers.
Regional elections in Russia began to attract much attention after opposition candidates defeated United Russia’s nominees in several votes, including in regional capitals Yaroslavl and Naryan-Mar and the major city of Togliatti, nicknamed “Russian Detroit” for its automotive productions.
A bid was made in Krasnoyarsk to unite the local opposition, selecting a single rival to Akbulatov through primaries.
However, separate primaries were held for Koropachinsky and Oskolkov, both of whom stayed in the race, trading mutual accusations about covertly working with the United Russia to fracture the opposition.
Still, in a first, several candidates resigned after losing primaries, establishing a precedent for further elections in the country.
Krasnoyarsk, an industrial city with aspirations of becoming an international transportation hub, only gave 31 percent to United Russia in the parliamentary vote in December, compared to the ruling party’s national average of 49 percent.
Protest mood is still strong in the city, but failed to reflect on the polls because the opposition lacked a single strong candidate, said regional political analyst Alexander Chernyavsky.
“Opposition [in the region] is in crisis, which was exposed by the vote,” Chernyavsky said.