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Another Russian City Drops Mayoral Elections

ANGARSK, Russia -- The local Duma in the eastern Russian city of Angarsk has overwhelmingly passed a resolution to shelve mayoral elections in favor of hiring a city manager, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

Eleven duma representatives on July 12 voted in favor of dropping the direct election of the mayor by voters in favor of a process in which the local duma would employ a manager to run the city. Only one deputy, a Communist Party member, voted against the change.

In the days leading up to the meeting, Communist members held demonstrations and meetings and collected some 2,650 signatures by Angarsk residents to preserve the mayoral elections.

Angarsk Communist Party leader Sergei Brenuk said party members must now focus their energy on the upcoming local elections. He said the wave of protests the Communists have held in the city could allow them to gain some seats in the local duma.

Angarsk joins a growing list of Russian towns and cities that have recently done away with mayoral elections in favor of hiring a professional manager.