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Amur region governor returns with 77 per cent of the vote as United Russia perform well in the East

By The Siberian Times reporter
15 October 2012

Oleg Kozhemyako returned to office with a thumping majority in the Far Eastern Amur region in the first since the return of direct elections for governors.

Running for it -  newly-elected governor of Amurskiy Krai Oleg Kozhemyako. Picture: kamtime.ru

'We congratulate you. In point of fact you triumphed with a very good, convincing result,' said premier Dmitry Medvedev, who is also the leader of United Russia.

This was the only election for a governor in Siberia and the Far East but the trend of solid results for the ruling party was echoed in legislative results east of the Urals.

There was little joy for opposition parties, even though the direct elections for governors were re-introduced in a concession after last winter's protests for more democracy. There will be concern, though, that in the Amur governor's poll voter turnout was only 37%, a trend visible elsewhere.

Amur is a key testing ground for the Kremlin's ambitious commitment to revitalise and modernise the economy of the Eastern Siberia and the Far East. 

'The tasks for us in the coming years are not easy,' warned Kozhemyako, as quoted by Itar-Tass.

'They include the launching of space rockets from the Vostochny spaceport, the finalisation of the construction of the Nizhne-Bureiskaya hydropower station in the lower reaches of the Bureya River, the building of housing, an increase in wages for the budget-supported sector workers, and a rise in the living standards for all inhabitants of the region.'

He vowed: 'A solution to social problems will be among the main priorities of our policy.'

Medvedev told him: 'It is now important to maintain the course that was set and develop the territory.'

Among rival candidates, Communist Roman Kobyzov polled 9.99% of the vote, LDPR candidate Ivan Abramov 8.12%. A candidate from 'A Just Russia' party scored only 2.56%.

In other more local elections in the region, United Russia candidates also scored well.

In early results in Barnaul, in southern Siberia, United Russia won just over 50% of the vote in the city council. The same pattern was visible further east in  Vladivostok, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky and Sakhalin.

The vote was a test for the ruling party after December's parliamentary election which resulted in allegations of vote-rigging. 

Everyone expected a party fiasco after December's elections,' said Medvedev. 'Supposedly there was a downward trend, and everything was going to collapse under us. But nothing of the kind happened - under completely different circumstances, this was the result.'

Echoes of earlier complaints over lack of trust in the voting system were still heard heard. 

The Communists seized on the low turnout saying 'voters don't believe that elections will be held honestly'.

Others claimed there was a lack of choice of candidates on the ballot paper, and that opposition figure who did stand were not given a fair hearing in the media. Monitoring groups including Golos cited a number of alleged abuses. 

Sergei Mitrokhin, leader of opposition party Yabloko, filed a complain to the election commission and prosecutor general claiming irregularities in 11 Russian regions including  Primorsky Krai, Altai and Irkutsk.

Comments (1)

good to see a fit governor for a change
thinker, J
15/10/2012 17:33
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