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Few Surprises In North Caucasus Elections


Voters at a polling station in Grozny on October 11.

Voters at a polling station in Grozny on October 11.

PRAGUE -- High turnout was reported and significant violations alleged in elections to municipal councils in Russia's restive North Caucasus republics on October 11, RFE/RL's North Caucasus Service reported.

Officials said some 86 percent of registered voters participated in Chechnya, while some 85 percent reportedly voted in Ingushetia.

Muslim Khuchiyev, a close ally of Chechnya's pro-Moscow President Ramzan Kadyrov, was reelected mayor of the Chechen capital, Grozny.

But in the neighboring republic of Daghestan, voting was said to have been marred by significant procedural violations.

In the southern town of Derbent, where the republican authorities openly backed incumbent Mayor Feliks Kaziakhmedov, 16 of the 36 polling stations were closed on election day, depriving an estimated 40 percent of the electorate there from voting.

Vladimir Ustinov, the Russian presidential envoy to the Southern Federal District, flew to Daghestan to assess the situation.

Voter turnout in Derbent was estimated at 45 percent, but it is unclear whether Kaziakhmedov defeated his rivals or if the election will be declared null and void because of the closure of the polling stations.

In Karachayevo-Cherkessia, predictions that acting Karachayevsk Mayor Umar Uzdenov would win easily proved wrong. Independent candidate Soltan Sultanov received 51 percent of the vote to just 34 percent for Uzdenov, who was backed by the pro-Kremlin United Russia party.

As in most parts of Russia where elections were held, United Russia candidates won most of the seats that were being contested.
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