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Mayors Resign After Poor Poll Results For United Russia

ULYANOVSK/AKHTUBINSK -- The mayors of two Russian cities where the number of votes for the ruling United Russia party in parliamentary elections on December 4 was relatively low have tendered their resignations, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

Aleksandr Pinkov, mayor of the south-central Russian city of Ulyanovsk, resigned on December 8 after two years in office. He told RFE/RL that "I am really frustrated" but refused further comment.

United Russia garnered 30 percent of the votes in the State Duma elections in Ulyanovsk, while the Communist Party received 29 percent.

Local media reported that Ulyanovsk Oblast Governor Sergei Morozov warned at a regional leadership meeting earlier this week that all local leaders whose constituencies gave less than 50 percent of their votes to United Russia would be sacked.

The Ulyanovsk city Duma also decided on December 8 that the mayor will be elected from among and by Duma members, the majority of whom belong to United Russia, and will also serve as head of the Duma. The city's administration will be run by a so-called city manager hired on a contract with the mayor.

Ulyanovsk Duma Chairman Vasily Gvozdev stated at the session that "the most important thing for our city now is to preserve stability and manageability as the presidential election approaches."

Gvozdev called on Ulyanovsk Duma deputies to be "consistent and cooperative" in choosing a new mayor and to stay away from "clan fighting and thoughtless statements to the media."

Russian media reported on December 8 that Amanga Naruzbaev -- mayor of the southwestern city of Akhtubinsk -- has also resigned. United Russia received 28.5 percent of the votes in Akhtubinsk.

United Russia officially got some 49 percent of the vote in Russia. Demonstrators in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and several other cities have been protesting the results all week, saying that the elections were rigged.

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