United Russia gains political ground

June 18, 2012 at 11:34 AM
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OMSK, Russia, June 18 (UPI) -- The ruling United Russia party declared victory in a Siberian city by trouncing the Communist Party in a mayoral race.

United Russia candidate Vyacheslav Dvorakovsky won a mayoral race in the Siberian city of Omsk with a 20-percentage-point victory over Communist Party leader Viktor Zharkov, Russia's state-run news agency RIA Novosti reports.

Authorities in Omsk said voter turnout was low with 17 percent of the eligible voters taking part in the mayoral race. Election officials said warmer weather and frustration with Russia's elimination from the Euro 2012 soccer match may have kept people from the polls.

Election monitors in December suggested State Duma elections were skewed in favor of United Russia, led last year by President Vladimir Putin when he was serving as prime minister. Similar concerns were expressed in a March election that secured Putin's third non-consecutive term as president.

Members of a presidential Human Rights Council resigned in protest of Putin's re-election, complaining he is "an illegitimate president."

Scores of protesters have taken to the streets in major metropolitan areas of Russia to protest Putin's third term as president.

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