Local elections in Russia: Navalny’s allies win council seats as Putin’s party claims victory | World news

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Allies of poisoned Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny said they won city council seats in Siberia as independent observers condemned a “flow” of voting irregularities in regional polls.In several dozen of the country’s 85 regions, Russians voted for regional governors and legislators in regional and municipal legislatures as well as in several by-elections for national deputies.

The polls were taken a year before parliamentary elections and are seen as a test for the Kremlin, as the ruling party faces waning popularity and simmering public anger over the economic woes.

In an effort to combat Vladimir Putin’s electoral machine, Navalny and his team urged Russians to vote tactically by supporting the strongest candidates against the ruling United Russia party.

Some of the most publicized campaigns took place in Novosibirsk, Russia’s third largest city, and neighboring Tomsk where Navalny visited last month.

On Sunday evening, his team said the heads of Navalny’s offices for Novosibirsk and Tomsk had both won city council seats.

Navalny was in Siberia promoting his “smart vote” campaign when he was poisoned by what Germany says was a novichok nerve agent.

Ksenia Fadeyeva, the 28-year-old Navalny bureau chief in Tomsk, said she won a city council seat with another Navalny ally.

“This is the first victory for a Navalny bureau chief,” Ivan Zhdanov, director of the opposition politician’s Anti-Corruption Foundation, said on Twitter.

“It was in Tomsk that Navalny was poisoned.

In Novosibirsk, the 37-year-old head of the local Navalny office, Sergei Boiko, also won a seat on the board.

To counter United Russia and the Communist Party, Boiko created an opposition alliance, which fielded around 30 candidates for the city’s legislature.

Voter Damir Adgamov, a 26-year-old dental technician, said he supported Boiko’s coalition after watching Navalny’s videos on YouTube.

“I decided to give it a try,” he says. “I don’t know if things will be better with Navalny or Boiko or worse, but at least we’ll see.

Vladimir Semyonov, a 57-year-old retired army officer, said he also voted for an opposition candidate, “to change something, so that we don’t have stagnation.”

Boiko said his supporters recorded dozens of alleged violations, including an attempt to illegally remove observers as a safe containing early votes at a polling station was sealed.

The President of United Russia, Dmitry Medvedev, hailed the party’s electoral successes, saying that polls show it is heading for victory in regional legislatures.

According to preliminary results, a second round of voting was not planned in one of the 18 regions which elected governors.

Officials are expected to announce the first results on Monday.

Several regions registered a high turnout in two days of early voting, with more than 50% of the electorate voting early in the Far Eastern Jewish Autonomous Region and Tatarstan.

The independent group of election observers Golos said it had received a “stream of reports” that observers were denied the legal right to view documents and file complaints, with conflicts sometimes ending in “blows”. fist”.

He also received reports of ballot stuffing and officials exchanging ballots cast by real voters for those they filled, the group added.

For the first time, elections in the country took place over three days and some polling stations for early voting were open-air.

Navalny’s ally Leonid Volkov said the program was designed to combat the tactical voting system. Electoral chief Ella Pamfilova denounced such “non-objective and malicious” accusations.

Navalny is now out of a medically induced coma and is responding to speech, the Berlin hospital providing care has said.

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