An ally of Russia’s president has won the race to become mayor of Moscow but the outcome has been questioned by the leading opposition candidate.
Sergei Sobyanin, Vladimir Putin’s former chief of staff, recorded 51 percent – just above the barrier needed for outright victory.
Many early editions of the papers in the Russian capital also predicted there would be no second round. Sentiments shared by Moscow’s election commission, which says there were no voting violations and has ruled out a run-off.
The unexpectedly strong showing of the anti-corruption campaigner and opposition leader Alexi Navalny has raised the prospect of a new electoral dispute in Russia. He recorded 27 percent and accused the Kremlin and Moscow’s mayor’s office of fiddling with the result.
“It is already clear now that the vote count was conducted with many serious violations, and so we consider the official results of the election to be deliberately falsified,” the opposition campaign said in a later statement after the bulk of the results were in.
Russia’s opposition fared better however in the mayoral contest for the big Urals Mountains city of Yekaterinburg.
The leading anti-Kremlin critic Yevgeny Roizman of the Civic Platform party beat the ruling party favourite, Yakob Silin.
But United Russia, which dominates politics nationwide, won most of the more than 7,000 regional and local contests held across Russia on Sunday.