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No great surprises expected in Russian elections

September 10, 2014, 15:35 UTC+3 MOSCOW MOSCOW September, 10. /ITAR-TASS

Analysts say all 30 current heads of regions participating in the election race most likely will retain their positions

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© ITAR-TASS/Yevgeny Kurskov

MOSCOW, September 10. /ITAR-TASS/. Russia votes nationwide on September 14 to elect governors in 30 regions, regional parliaments, mayors and municipal deputies. More than 75 million voters, a record number, are registered in the country with a population numbering 143.6 million.

Experts do not expect great political surprises or high voting activity. The cost of the vote will be the lowest in Russia for many years.

According to figures presented by the Central Election Commission on Wednesday, finances for organizing the election will total less than $162 million, or 80 rubles ($2.1) per person.

Election commissions are ready to hold free, legitimate and competitive contests, said deputy commission chairman Leonid Ivlev. More than 200,000 observers from political parties with seats in parliament and others will monitor the elections.

The commission has reported that 653,000 Russians, about 1.25% of voters, have already cast their votes. Elections will be held all over Russia, including the new territories of Crimea and Sevastopol where special attention will be paid to anti-terrorism security.

The head of Russia's Interior Ministry department for public order security, Yury Valyaev, cited forecasts for high public activity in some regions connected with opposition attempts to take seats in executive power structures. "These factors may cause protest activity outbreaks,” he said.

All 30 current heads of regions participating in the election race most likely will retain their positions, analysts said. Aside from the ruling United Russia Party, members of the so-called system opposition - Communists, A Just Russia and LDPR having seats in parliament - and liberal opposition parties are participating in the election campaign.

The liberal opposition includes Yabloko, which has 20 years of political experience, and relatively young Civic Platform established by businessman Mikhail Prokhorov. Candidates from other parties, including the Party of Gardeners, have low chances for success.

More than 111,000 candidates from 63 parties out of 77 registered associations are running for office in a campaign not marked by high political activity. Analysts predict the liberal opposition will quit the political arena, particularly those whose rating fell abruptly when they did not support Crimea’s joining Russia.

The Russian analytical Levada Center, which regularly conducts public opinion polls, said the opposition weakened against the background of consolidation of society in connection with the Ukrainian crisis.

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