PUTIN ALLY WINS TIGHT MOSCOW POLLS

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MOSCOW: Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny on Monday warned of protests after narrowly failing to push Moscow’s pro-Kremlin mayor into a run-off in tight elections he claimed were marred by falsifications. Mayor Sergei Sobyanin just crept over the finish line to win 51.3 percent of votes in Sunday’s poll, which analysts saw as a crucial test of the protest mood in Russia over a year into President Vladimir Putin’s new Kremlin term.

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Navalny polled far more strongly than projected with over 27 percent, but contended the results were falsified. In a nationwide day of local polls whose results may worry the Kremlin, opposition anti-drugs campaigner Yevgeny Roizman also defeated the pro-Kremlin candidate in elections for Russia’s fourth-largest city Yekaterinburg.

Sobyanin, a long time ally of Putin, won 51.32 percent of the vote and Navalny 27.27 percent, the Moscow election commission said, in a count based on 99.6 percent of polling stations reporting.

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