MOSCOW, March 31 (RIA Novosti) – A total of 16 people were detained during Sunday’s early mayor elections in the town of Zhukovsky some 25 miles southeast of Moscow, a spokesman for the Moscow Region Police Department said.
“Police received 45 complaints about various offences. In total, 16 people were detained, 12 of them are suspected of illegal actions during the polls. All of them have already been released, but all complaints are currently being probed,” the source said.
The chairman of the Moscow Region Election Commission, Irek Vildanov, said he saw no grounds to declare the polls invalid as the reported violations were insignificant.
Early elections were announced in Zhukovsky, home to Russia’s testing and design centers for aircraft, after its previous mayor, Alexander Bobovnikov, resigned in January. The region’s government said that the loss of citizens’ trust and instable political situation in the region could be among possible reasons for his resignation.
The town of about 100,000, which has been chosen as the site to create a national center of aviation industry, saw frequent protests in the past months, including against cutting a local forest and against alleged violations during the previous mayor elections.
According to Vildanov, with 77 percent of ballots counted, government-backed independent candidate Andrei Voityuk leads the mayor race. Voityuk scored 37 percent of the vote.
A total of 11 candidates took part in the polls. The turnout was 37.6 percent.