Pro-Kremlin party dominates in Russia's local polls
Russia's election officials said on Monday that candidates from the ruling party backing President Vladimir Putin broadly swept the polls in local elections.
Moscow: Russia's election officials said on Monday that candidates from the ruling party backing President Vladimir Putin broadly swept the polls in local elections.
The anti-Putin opposition received minimal support in yesterday's polls, blaming state media and smear campaigns by opponents for the low result.
Voting took place in 83 regions of Russia, with 21 regions electing their governors, 19 of which backed United Russia candidates.
The United Russia incumbent in the majority-Muslim region of Tatarstan won almost 95 percent of the vote.
Only in Siberia's Irkutsk region did a Communist candidate manage to push the vote into a second round, while a candidate from the nationalist Liberal Democratic party won in the Smolensk region.
United Russia also dominated the votes for 11 regional legislatures, taking more than 70 percent of the vote in several regions, and less than 50 percent in only one -- Novosibirsk.
Independent monitoring group Golos said the polls were "in most cases predetermined by the decisions and actions of the authorities," with many opposition candidates barred from standing.
The RPR-Parnas opposition coalition fielded just two candidates, in the rural Volga region of Kostroma, after other regions disqualified its candidates.
It won only 2.2 percent of the Kostroma vote, failing to reach the five percent needed to get a seat in its regional parliament, according to results posted Monday.
The RPR-Parnas coalition includes the party of slain Kremlin critic Boris Nemtsov and is fronted by protest leader Alexei Navalny.
Another liberal opposition party Yabloko, which has distanced itself from Navalny, won several seats in local and regional legislatures in central Russia and Siberia.
Navalny and the candidates from his coalition were subjected to numerous crude pranks during their campaign implying that they are sponsored by the United States, including the arrival of a black man posing as a US diplomat at their campaign office.
Last night, Navalny's car was plastered with miniature US flags.
Today, opponents hung a banner on a building opposite the US embassy in Moscow showing opposition figures including Navalny sitting on toilets with the slogan: "Sorry, we failed."