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Russia Holds Last Regional Governor's Election


23 January 2005 -- Russia held the last gubernatorial election today before reforms introduced by President Vladimir Putin give the Kremlin the power to nominate the heads of regional governments.

Voters in the northern Nenets Autonomous Okrug cast ballots to choose their governor from 15 candidates.

Putin introduced the reforms as part of a package he said was needed to combat the threat of terrorism. The measure followed a raid by Chechen militants on a school that killed more than 300 people in the southern town of Beslan in September.

Apart from scrapping gubernatorial elections, Putin has also ordered a change in the rules for registering political parties and electing the nation's parliament. Critics say the last move has complicated life for his political opposition.

(Reuters)
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