Russians vote on 22 regional heads including Moscow mayor

Russians vote on 22 regional heads including Moscow mayor
Russian citizens went to the polling stations on Sunday to choose heads of 22 regions, including the mayor of the capital, Moscow. They also elected 16 regional legislatures and thousands of municipal councils.

Mayoral elections in Moscow were probably the centerpiece of the election day, with four candidates challenging incumbent Mayor Sergey Sobyanin. The other candidates in the race are billionaire real estate developer Mikhail Balakin; lower house MP representing the populist-nationalist Liberal-Democratic Party of Russia, Mikhail Degtyarev; Communist Party candidate Vadim Kunin; and Ilya Sviridov, who represents the center-left party Fair Russia.

Sobyanin is apparently heading for a landslide victory, as some 74 percent of the voters supported him, according to exit polls. The turnout proved to be quite low, with only 28 percent of the voter showing up at the polling stations.

Apart from Moscow, 21 other Russian regions and cities have picked governors and mayors. Second tour of polls is expected in at least three regions, where the election was indecisive, head of the Central Electoral Committee, Ella Pamfilova, has said, citing preliminary results.

Besides choosing top officials, seven constituencies across the country held by-elections to fill vacant seats in the State Duma, voters elected members to 16 regional legislatures and around 6,000 municipal councils.

The polls were not marred by any serious violations except for the Republic of Buryatia, according to Pamfilova. Head of a local electoral committee was caught red-handed in the city of Ulan-Ude while trying to bring some 100 pre-filled ballots to a detention facility, the election boss revealed. A criminal investigation into the incident has been launched.

In Moscow, a case of the so-called ‘carousel’ scheme – when the same person votes several times – was reported, yet it turned out to be a false alarm. Upon investigation, it emerged that two twin brothers were mistaken by the observers for the same man.

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