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26 Apr, 2009 17:25

Battle for Sochi mayoral seat heading into Olympics ends

With a sweeping mandate, Anatoly Pahomov, the candidate of Russia’s ruling party, United Russia, has won the mayoral elections in Sochi.

“After counting nearly 80 percent of the ballots, we concluded that the winner received 77% of the votes,” Yuri Rykov, chairman of the Sochi elections committee told ITAR TASS.

This means the results of the elections are finalized and a second round of voting will not be needed. Boris Nemtsov from the Solidarnost liberal movement received 13,5% of the vote, while the Communist candidate, Yuri Dzagania, scored around 7%. The remaining candidates fell short of gaining even 1% of the votes.

The election has become a media event, as an extravagant row of stars entered the race in the resort on the Black Sea which will host the 2014 winter games.

A former security officer wanted in the UK, a ballerina, a porn star, and a billionaire entrepreneur were among the 26 originally hoping to head the city.

But only six made it to the final list. The acting mayor from the ruling United Russia party, and a former Russian deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov, who's a fierce critic of the government, are among them.

The winner will need to get 50% plus one of the votes. If none of the candidates manages to win the first round of the election, a second one will be held, and the winner will need a simple majority of votes.

Whoever becomes the next head of the city, he will play one of the key roles in deciding how billions of dollars allocated by the government for the Olympic Games are spent.