Well-known Russian blogger and photographer Ilya Varlamov quit the mayoral election race in the Siberian city of Omsk because he could not collect the necessary 10,000 signatures by May 7, the head of the campaign headquarters, Maxim Katz, said on Thursday.
According to Katz, the volunteers managed to collect about 3,000 signatures for Varlamov of the 10,000 needed. However, close inspection revealed that about 1,500 signatures were signed by the same person. Since there are only four days left to collect the signatures, the staff decided it is not able to cope with the collection and closed the campaign.
“The local staff and I have decided to close the campaign. It’s quite a pity and sad, but it is clear that we can’t collect signatures in time in an honest way,” Katz said.
The blogger won the primaries, which were held by the Omsk opposition to select a united candidate for the mayor of the city.
Senior United Russia member Sergei Zheleznyak regrets the decision of Varlamov to stop fighting for the post of mayor. In his opinion, Varlamov’s participation in the elections would show his weak ratings and lack of support among the citizens.
“It is unfortunate that Varlamov has not turned out to collect signatures because his participation in the campaign would just show a small rating, which he could obtain from Omsk residents,” Zheleznyak said on Thursday.
Elections for the Omsk mayor is scheduled for June 17. According to the regional election committee, 15 candidates filed papers to run for mayor. This list includes economist Vladislav Inozemtsev, City Council Speaker Vyacheslav Dvorakovsky, a former vice-governor of the Omsk region, Alexander Korotkov, and others.