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Russia: Incumbent Saratov Governor Wins Landslide Victory

Moscow, 2 September 1996 (RFE/RL) -- The incumbent governor of Russia's Saratov region, Dmitry Ayatskov, won a landslide victory in yesterday's gubernatorial election.

Ayatskov's press secretary, Yuri Sanberg, told RFE/RL today that according to preliminary results, Ayatskov won more than 81 percent of the vote. His nearest rival, communist candidate Anatoly Gordeev, received about 16 percent. The third candidate on the ballot, reformist Vitaly Pavlov, received less than one percent. Sanberg said turnout exceeded 56 percent.

Ayatskov was appointed by Russian President Boris Yeltsin earlier this year, but under a new law, all Russian regional governors are to face election by the first months of 1997. Elections for governor are to be held in another 51 Russian regions in the coming months. Saratov region is located on the Volga river, some 700 kilometers southeast of Moscow.