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A Just Russia faction holds emergency session after walking out during Putin's report

April 11, 2012, 16:18 UTC+3

After the prime minister’s answer to the faction's question about the situation around the mayoral election in Astrakhan

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MOSCOW, April 11 (Itar-Tass) — The lawmaker of A Just Russia faction left the hall of the State Duma's plenary sessions as Prime Minister Vladimir Putin was answering questions after delivering his annual report.

"After the prime minister’s answer to the faction's question about the situation around the mayoral election in Astrakhan," the faction members stood up and left the hall, and now they're gathering for emergency session," an official of A Just Russia administration told Itar-Tass.

Lawmaker Yelena Drapeko said the faction resented Putin's attitude to "our comrades' dying at present." In her opinion, the Central Election Commission has the right to expedite the review of this case at a court, and the head of state can influence the situation too.

"We were indignant at the irony with which Putin answered the question," lawmaker Alexander Gayev said.

Faction member Ilya Ponomaryov told reporters that all the materials A Just Russia had gathered in Astrakhan had been handed over to the presidential administration, the government administration and United Russia.

"We suggested the party chairman give a political opinion of the situation; but instead, we heard false and unauthentic words," Ponomaryov said.

But Federation Council speaker Valentina Matviyenko said Vladimir "gave an absolutely correct" answer to the question about the situation in Astrakhan.

"The prime minister could not have given any other answer. It would have been incorrect," Matviyenko said.

Chairman of A Jut Russia, deputy speaker Nikolai Levichev believes that Putin's answer completely dashed the hopes of the persons who assumed their case could have prospects in court.

When answering the question about the situation in Astrakhan, Putin stated neither the prime minister, nor the president had the right to annul the election results.

Yelena Drapeko said A Just Russia had obtained video recordings from Astrakhan voting stations showing that the official results of the mayoral election did not correspond to real expression of will by citizens. The party is preparing to file a legal action, she said.

The Astrakhan mayoral election was won by United Russia candidate Mikhail Stolyarov, but A Just Russia claims it is their representative, Oleg Shein, who is the winner.

A number of A Just Russia representatives, including Shein, announced a hunger strike, and several Moscow Opposition activists later joined them.


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