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Moscow court rejects Navalny's lawsuit against alleged poll violations

Moscow court rejects Navalny's lawsuit against alleged poll violations
A Moscow court has refused to cancel the results of mayoral elections won by incumbent Sergey Sobyanin in which the anti-corruption activist came second.

Aleksey Navalny filed a lawsuit soon after the Moscow Elections Commission announced the results of the poll. Sobyanin got over 51 percent of votes and won in the first round. The main complaint was that the media was giving more coverage to the incumbent during the campaign.

In addition, Navalny’s team submitted almost a thousand procedural complaints that had to be passed to district courts. In them Navalny pointed at numerous alleged violations committed before and during the election. In particular, he highlighted the distribution of free food to pensioners that could be considered as bribing voters by the team of the acting mayor. Moscow pensioners received presents from city hall in connection with the Day of Moscow (celebrated on the first weekend of the Fall), and technically was not connected with Sergey Sobyanin’s election campaign.

Navalny, known for his anti-corruption blog, and as a staunch opponent of the parliamentary majority party United Russia, came second with over 27 percent of the vote. He ran for the rightist party RPR-PARNAS, while Sobyanin ran as an independent, despite being a long-time and high placed member of United Russia.

The activist claimed that in reality the incumbent received less than 50 percent of vote and thus a runoff election should be held. The lawsuit was filed before Sobyanin’s inauguration and Navalny wanted it stopped, but a Moscow Court refused his request and Sobyanin was sworn in on September 12.

Shortly before this Navalny spoke at a rally of his supporters asking them to abstain from violence and public disorder.

Before the mayoral poll was held Navalny was sentenced to five years in prison over a large-scale graft committed in 2009 when the activist was working as a voluntary aide to the governor of the Kirov Region. He was not immediately put in custody and was allowed to run as the sentence will only come in force after the court considers his appeal.

On Friday Navalny wrote in his twitter that the court session on his appeal was scheduled for October 9.