Sergei Sobyanin, who is running for Moscow mayor, has stopped gathering deputies' signatures as he has collected more than enough. The election campaign is gathering momentum. On Tuesday, acting mayor Sergei Sobyanin decided to stop gathering signatures, in order to let other candidates work and do signature collecting of their own ahead of the September 8 polls. Each municipal deputy can give his or her vote to one contender only, and Sobyanin decided not to create obstacles to his rivals.
The Kommersant reminds that to get registered, a mayoral election candidate needs to collect at least 110 signatures of deputies (of those, United Russia Party members make up some 1,000, according to Sobyanin rivals' estimates), and each deputy can give his vote for one hopeful only.
"I don't think it will help me any; the deputies who back Sergei Sobyanin will hardly sign for me," Yabloko Party candidate Sergei Mitrokhin told the newspaper. In his opinion, if the acting mayor really wanted to help his competitors, he would not have gathered 250 signatures. "Why has he collected twice as many, did he want to demonstrate the power of administrative leverage?" Mitrokhin said.
Meanwhile, officials at Sobyanin's election headquarters said as many candidates as possible could take part in the election.
The maximum number of contenders is 16, but given those who wish to give their votes to Sobyanin, their number is down to eight.
The Rossiiskaya Gazeta cited chairman of the council of city municipalities, head of the Rostokino municipality Alexei Shaposhnikov as saying that the real support for Sobyanin is much higher, and that if he had continued signature collecting, he would have netted ten times as many votes. "It was noble of him to stop signature collecting," Shaposhnikov believes.
"It turns out he played in his rivals' hands," political analyst Valery Khomyakov noted, "I acknowledge it might add votes, for example to Mitrokhin. But Sobyanin won't lose, the more rivals he has, the more legitimate the election results will be.
Opposition activist Alexei Navalny, who is the candidate from the RPR-PARNAS Party, has had few problems with the so-called "municipal filter" so far. Some 70 municipal deputies, found by his sympathizing district deputies, are ready to support him. Vera Kichanova, a participant in Navalny's support group, said political preferences of many Moscow deputies are still unknown. Navalny's followers are trying to find supporters among them.
After accumulating "the critical mass," Sobyanin's rivals will begin to "exchange deputies' signatures" in order to help each other register. If Navalny fails to gather the necessary amount of municipal deputies' signatures, well-known personalities might be enlisted to canvas for him, but the list of these persons has not been drawn yet.