OMSK, June 17 (Itar-Tass) —— The lowest election turnout, 16.94%, was reported in the Omsk early mayoral election on Sunday. The second largest city in Siberia has 900,000 voters.
Amendments made to local laws in 2005 changed the turnout threshold, so the low turnout is immaterial for the election validity, the regional elections commission told Itar-Tass. However, local observers say the new mayor will be uncomfortable, to put it mildly. Even if a candidate gains more than 50% of votes, he will have slightly more than 80,000 supporters. The city’s total population is 1.2 million.
The turnout stood at 33.57% by the same time in the mayoral election of 2005 and 36.1% in 2010. The Omsk regional elections commission explained the low turnout with the midst of the summer season. The overwhelming majority of Omsk residents preferred staying at their dachas or swimming – water temperature is almost 25 degrees Centigrade in the Irtysh River. Besides, people are tired of elections: there have been four elections in the city in the past six months, including the elections of the State Duma, the Russian president and the Regional Legislative Assembly.
Another cause of the low turnout is the constant criticism of former Mayor Viktor Shreider by local politicians and the media. Shreider won the election in 2010 but never performed his duties fully. He was elected to the State Duma on December 4, 2011, and decided to quit the mayoral position. People who voted for him lost confidence in local authorities.
There are seven candidates in the election – Vyacheslav Dvorakovsky (United Russia), Viktor Zharkov (the Communist Party), Yan Zelinsky (the Liberal Democratic Party), Alexander Korotkov (Yabloko), Irina Overina (A Just Russia) and self-nominated candidates Igor Antropov and Sergei Maslennikov.
The electoral commission said that the ballot was quiet, and no incidents occurred.