The ruling United Russia party was set for victory in a number of local election seats on Sunday, but was also on course for some setbacks as Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny’s supporters made rare gains in Siberia. Voting for local elections took place in dozens of Russia’s 85 regions as voters cast their ballots to elect regional governors and lawmakers in city legislatures. Several by-elections for national MPs were also held on Sunday. Independent monitors slammed a reported “stream” of voting irregularities in regional polls, which caught international interest after Navalny’s poisoning on August 20, allegedly by Russian authorities.
United Russia’s chairman Dmitry Medvedev lauded the party’s successes, saying that exit polls suggested it was heading for victory in regional legislatures. According to initial results, a second-round runoff was not expected in any of 18 regions that elected governors. Official results are expected on Monday. Several regions registered large turnouts in two days of early voting, with more than 50% of the electorate casting ballots early in the far eastern Jewish Autonomous Region and in Tatarstan.
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