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St. Petersburg Bucking Electoral Trend

ST. PETERSBURG, Apr 4 (RFE/RL) - Our correspondent in St Petersburg reports that Russia's second city is bucking the national electoral trend again.

In State Duma elections last December, Russian voters gave Gennady Zyuganov's communists the largest share of the vote. In St Petersburg, the communists finished behind Grigory Yavlinsky's Yabloko, and barely edged out the pro-government Our Home Is Russia party.

Russia's second city is bucking the national electoral trend again. Public opinion polls of voter preference for the June presidential election suggest that St Petersburg's voters intend to shun the Communist revival.

National polls show Gennady Zyuganov with a strong lead. A recent telephone poll in St Petersburg of 1007 adults, published in the newspaper Nevskoye Vremya, places Zyuganov in fourth place behind President Boris Yeltsin, who is polling at 24 percent, liberal economist Grigory Yavlinsky with 17 percent and eye surgeon and Duma Deputy Svyetaslav Fyodorov with 16 percent. Zyuganov draws nine percent support in St, Petersburg.

In St Petersburg's landmark local gubernatorial race, incumbent Anatoly Sobchak leads all rivals. Voting is scheduled May 19.

Sobchak is completing a five-year term as St Petersburg's first and last mayor. The city's executive office has been renamed "governor." A recent poll shows him with 30 percent support. Mr. Sobchak's closest rival is former Federation Council Deputy Alexander Belyaev with about six percent in the poll.