Russia’s election commission has nixed the results of a regional election in the country’s Far East over violations. The date for a new vote is being considered at the moment.
“I think it’s normal, because we had very convincing reasons for that,” Ella Pamfilova, the head of Russia’s Central Election Commission (CIK), has said. Authorities of the Primorsky Region, which is among the country’s 25 largest, have to decide on the exact date for a new election.
The annulment comes after the CIK recommended holding a new plebiscite within three months following irregularities that were uncovered. Following the reccomendation, twelve members of the regional election commission voted for the annulment of the results, while one voted against.
In the first round of elections held on September 9, incumbent Governor Andrey Tarasenko of the ruling United Russia party received almost double the number of votes given to Communist contender Andrey Ishchenko – 46 percent to 24 percent. However, as none of the candidates managed to gain at least 50 percent of the votes, a run-off election was announced, which took place on September 16.
The second round almost ended in a draw. Only after all of the votes were counted, Tarasenko emerged as the winner, defeating his main competitor by a narrow margin.
Ishchenko, however, accused his opponent of rewriting the voting protocols in four major cities in the region. A number of rallies were held across the region in support of Ishchenko.
Tarasenko fired back at his opponent with similar accusations, claiming that that monitors had registered violations in favor of the Communist candidate. Tarasenko will remain governor until a new election is held, an official from the region’s commission said.
Later on Thursday, Tarasenko called the commission’s decision “fair.” “I was initially in favor of canceling the results of the second round of elections in Primorsky Region, there are too many complaints,” he added. Ishchenko said he intends to challenge the annulment of the results in court.
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