Putin’s ally escapes from runoff election

Putin’s ally escapes from runoff election

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny demanded Sept.9 a recount in Moscow’s mayoral election after official results showed that the Kremlin-backed incumbent barely escaped facing a runoff with him.

The Moscow Election Commission said that former Kremlin chief of staff Sergei Sobyanin got just over 51 percent of the vote while Navalny garnered 27 percent in second place, a strong result for a Russian opposition leader.

“We do not recognize these elections,” Navalny told reporters. “Sobyanin can’t consider himself the mayor of all Muscovites, he can’t consider himself a lawfully elected mayor unless he agrees to our demands and allows a recount of the vote.”

Defeat in Yekaterinburg

Leonid Volkov, chief of Navalny’s election campaign, said the key violation they are contesting is the voting from home totals, where the vote count showed what he called an abnormally high number of votes for Sobyanin.

If Sobyanin, 55, had won less than 50 percent, he would have faced a runoff with the charismatic 37-year-old Navalny, who has risen to wide prominence in the past few years with his anti-corruption campaign. Meanwhile, an opposition anti-drugs campaigner celebrated inflicting one of the worst election defeats for the Kremlin in recent years after beating the ruling party candidate in polls for mayor of Russia’s fourth-largest city Yekaterinburg.

Yevgeny Roizman won 33.25 percent of the vote in the ballot while the candidate of the ruling United Russia Party, Yakov Silin, had 29.07 percent. It is extremely rare in modern Russian history for an opposition candidate to beat the ruling-party figure in an election for a major city like Yekaterinburg.