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MOSCOW, September 8. (Itar-Tass) – Voting day update at 2:30am. After processing 80.37% of the ballots acting mayor Sergei Sobyanin leads with 51.4%. Opposition figurehead Alexey Navalny is in second place with 27.2%. Ivan Melnikov of the Communist party is third with 10.67%.
He is followed by Sergei Mitrokhin of Yabloko party with 3.5%. Liberal Democrat Mikhail Degtyarev has received 2.89% of the vote. Finally, chairman of A Just Russia party Nikolai Levichev is last with 2.82% of the vote.
Voter turnout for the Moscow mayoral election was 26,18%.
United Russia spokesperson earlier said the ruling party did not consider popularity of the opposition candidate Navalny anything out of the ordinary, noting that Moscow is known for its oppositionist tendencies.
Secretary of the General Council of United Russia Sergei Neverov reminded that Mihail Prokhorov had hundreds of thousands of voiced cast for him during presidential elections. Previously, Alexander Lebedev ran a somewhat successful race against then-mayor Yuri Luzhkov, Neverov reminded.
Moscow mayoral elections were scheduled to be held in 2015, when Sergei Sobyanin’s term ran out. He was named as mayoral candidate by Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev in 2010, after which he was approved by the Moscow City Duma. However, on June 4, at a session of Moscow’s Public Chamber, Sobyanin put forward the idea of a snap election. The mayor then submitted resignation request to President Vladimir Putin and announced his plans to run in the election. Russia’s president accepted his resignation and named Sobyanin as acting mayor until the election, allowing him to participate as a candidate.
This election is the first one in the last 10 years. Sobyanin is the third mayor of Moscow as of October 21 of 2010. He replaced Yuri Luzhkov, who ran the city for 18 years and was dismissed September 28, 2010 due to “losing faith of Russia’s president.” The first mayor of Moscow in modern Russia was Gavriil Popov.