Opposition Party Challenges Results of S.Russia City Mayor Polls

KRASNODAR, March 25 (RIA Novosti) – An opposition party sought to declare invalid polls in the southern Russian resort city of Anapa, overwhelmingly won by a United Russia candidate.

According to early results, United Russia’s Sergei Sergeyev won the polls receiving about 84 percent of the vote. His opponents – Viktor Tyurin of the Communist Party and Alexei Egorov of the liberal opposition Yabloko party scored about 4 and 3.5 percent, respectively. The remaining seven candidates received less than two percent. The turnout was about 34.6 percent.

Yabloko leader Sergei Mitrokhin requested Central Election Commission Chairman Vladimir Churov to cancel the results of the vote, citing numerous violations.

“The number of ballot stuffing incidents registered by observers demonstrates that the true will of the voters cannot be established,” the Yabloko party said in a statement. “The information about all instances of electoral fraud has been sent to the Central Election Commission.”

A spokesman for a local electoral commission earlier said that a number of complaints from members of various parties has been lodged with regional electoral authorities, but did not comment on the number of those complaints or their nature.

Regional political experts explain the convincing victory of the United Russia candidate by slow election campaigns of other parties and the lack of serious electoral rivals.

“None of the candidates demonstrated the required electoral activity,” said Nikolai Petropavlovsky, who heads the Krasnodar Territory Sociology Center. “Essentially, not only [the] Anapa [polls], but also the polls to the Krasnodar Territory legislative assembly, demonstrated that United Russia has no [electoral] rivals in the region.”

He described the opposition’s election fraud claims as “electoral noise.”

Political scientist with the Kuban State University in the regional capital Kransnodar, Alexei Kolba, said that “judging by the list of candidates, none of them, except for the United Russia candidate, had a chance to win.”

Mikhail Savva, a professor at the Kuban State University, said the voters who cast their ballot in favor of Sergeev, “had an adequate vision of this candidate, who has an experience of governing a city like Anapa.”

The United Russia, however, “created an image of Yabloko as the only political party that can oppose the ruling power in practice.”

“However, Yabloko wouldn’t be able to be a serious match for the United Russia, and it is not their fault,” he said.


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