The St. Petersburg governor is one step closer to becoming the upper house speaker as she received over 95 per cent of the vote in municipal elections. The opposition claims the unusually high level of support could only be caused by a rigged poll.
Russian news agencies reported that Governor Valentina Matviyenko received 93.7 per cent of the vote in a municipal by-election in the Petrovsky district on Sunday.Voter turnout was at 36.54 per cent. The turnout at the Krasnenkaya Rechka district where Matviyenko was running was slightly lower – 28 per cent – where over 94.5 per cent voted in favor of the incumbent governor.
Elections monitors say that the poll was conducted without any major violations, but noted several incidents.At one polling station, the head of the elections commission tried to bar a journalist from Novaya Gazeta newspaper from observing the course of the voting, but failed.
Also on Sunday, police detained the former governor of the far eastern Kamchatka Region, Mikhail Mashkovtsev, and accused him of handing out money to voters near polling stations in exchange for voting against everyone. Mashkovtsev argued that he was simply checking the polling stations’ conditions together with some journalists as police later released him. It should be noted that the former governor is now a member of the organization “Communists of the St. Petersburg and Leningrad Region,” which is known for controversial and persistent PR campaigns, but little else.
After winning the elections, Valentina Matvienko is expected to leave the governor’s post and join the Federation Council – the Upper House of the Russian Parliament where she has been offered the post of chairperson. Matvienko has promised to submit her resignation on August 22, immediately after the elections. On Monday afternoon the Russian media reported that President Dmitry Medvedev had accepted Matvienko’s resignation and appointed presidential plenipotantiary Georgiy Poltavchenko acting governor of the city.
Full Article: Opposition cries foul at governor election landslide — RT.