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Russia already knows Moscow mayoral election winner

July 24, 2013, 10:56 UTC+3

According to poll results, acting mayor Sergei Sobyanin is supported by 54% of Muscovites

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Russia already knows who will win Moscow's mayoral election due to take place in September. On Tuesday, the All Russia Public Opinion Study Center /WCIOM/ announced that 54% of Muscovites were ready to vote for acting mayor Sergei Sobyanin. The intrigue is in who will come second - Opposition activist Alexei Navalny, whose rating reached 9% on "information wave," or Communist nominee Ivan Melnikov. So far, 4% of Muscovites are ready to vote for the latter.

On June 4, Moscow City announced it would hold an early mayoral election, the Novye Izvestia reminds. Immediately after the announcement, Mayor Sergei Sobyanin stepped down in order to take part in the upcoming polls. The president accepted his resignation and appointed him acting Moscow mayor. There are six candidates who will compete for the post: A Just Russia representative Nikolai Levichev, Liberal Democratic Party /LDPR/ candidate Mikhail Degtyaryov, acting Moscow mayor Sergei Sobyanin, Yabloko representative Sergei Mitrokhin, KPRF candidate Ivan Melnikov and RPR-PARNAS representative Alexei Navalny.

Sergei Sobyanin is clear leader by election ratings with 54%, the RBC Daily said referring to the poll results. Trailing far behind are Alexei Navalny with 9%, Ivan Melnikov with 4%, and Sergei Mitrokhin with 2%. LDPR candidate Mikhail Degtyaryov has 1% and Nikolai Levichev from A Just Russia has 0%.

Political analyst Igor Bunin, cited by the newspaper, said that the struggle during the election campaign would be mainly waged for the second and third places, and that Melnikov had good chances to catch up with Navalny and even overtake him. He noted that the latest poll did not explicitly show the effect which Navalny's arrest and subsequent release had on his popularity. Igor Bunin stated that the court's decision did influence the ratings, so the "effect was stronger than indicated by WCIOM figures, yet it is still insignificant."

Navalny's problem is that his anti-rating is increasing as well, Bunin went on to say. The very presence of his name on the list of candidates lends other colors to the campaign: "whereas earlier it would be a typical campaign of the 1990s brand, it is now a lively, vigorous campaign which can set an example for other regions." In September, one of the first real political battles will take place /not counting the presidential election of 2012/, Bunin said. Sergei Sobyanin showed himself as a politician of a quite different type, who let Alexei Navalny be registered as a hopeful.

There have been many conspiratorial theories around Navalny and his participation in the election, and the reasons for such theories come from no other than the presidential administration, which shows an enigmatic reaction to what is happening, political analyst Alexei Mukhin said. "I believe all the progressive humankind is rooting for Navalny, positively or negatively. Few have remained indifferent. Navalny seeks the supporters who oppose the authorities in general.”

Muscovites have been showing increased interest in the mayoral election campaign, the Izvestia notes. Over a week, the number of city residents who plan to vote at the election increased by 5% to 49%, according to WCIOM. After analyzing the results of the opinion poll, political analysts stated that Sergei Sobyanin would be elected mayor in the first round, and that the main struggle would unfold for the second place between blogger Alexei Navalny and Communist candidate Ivan Melnikov.

"Navalny will just lose the election in a fair fight," the Izvestia cited chairman of the board of the civil society development fund Konstantin Kostin. In his opinion, Alexei Navalny has been taking away voters from the electorate belonging to Yabloko, Communists, and A Just Russia. However, the candidates from these parties are joining the race and will vie for their voters.

The main intrigue is who will take the second place, and who will become the main opposition force in the capital," Kostin muses, adding that here, the Communists - who have kept this status for 18 years and have been second to the ruling party - will confront Navalny, who was given an impulse by Kirov's Leninsky district court story.

"Navalny has a limit - Mikhail Prokhorov's electorate - which reaches 20% at the maximum," the Izvestia cited president of the center for political technologies Igor Bunin as saying.

The results posted by the ruling party candidates in Moscow have been lower on the wave of protests in the past few years, the Kommersant reminds. At the Duma elections in December 2011, United Russia got 46.19% of votes in Moscow, while Vladimir Putin at the March 2012 presidential election got 46.95%.

The election will turn Sergei Sobyanin from "an administrative figure into a political one," the newspaper cited deputy director of the center for political environment Alexei Zudin as saying.

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