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KOMMERSANT (Russia), BBC, AFP

Worldcrunch

MOSCOW — Kremlin-backed candidate Sergei Sobyanin has won the mayoral election in Moscow, reports the Russian paper Kommersant. With the support of 51.37% of voters, he secured just above the 50% threshold needed to avoid a second-round ballot.

His main rival, Alexei Navalny, received 27.2% of the vote. According to the BBC, Navalny called for a runoff and refused to accept the results, saying that they had been “deliberately falsified.” He decided to “appeal to the citizens and ask them to take the streets of Moscow.”

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Sergei Sobyanin in June 2013. Photo: www.kremlin.ru.

Moscow’s electoral commission refused to consider a runoff and said that there were no election irregularities. During a late-night rally, Sobyanin characterized the election as the “most open and honest” in Moscow’s history. Kommersant also reports that he asked his opponent “not to divide the people,” saying that protests aren’t a constructive way to demonstrate disagreement.

Nevertheless, city authorities have authorized Navalny to hold a rally Monday evening with up to 2,500 supporters.

The opposition leader is currently out on bail after having been sentenced to five years in a penal colony on fraud charges that he says were trumped up, AFP reports.

In late 2011, Moscow was the site of the biggest anti-government protest since Soviet times after allegations of ballot rigging in a general election.

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About 500 people participated in an unauthorized protest in St. Petersburg after candidate Alexei Navalny was found guilty of fraud in July 2013. Photo: Andrey Pronin - Andrey Pronin/ZUMA

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