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Putin's Party Loses Mayoral Race In 'Capital Of Siberia'

Anatoly Lokot (left) had been backed by another opposition candidate Ilya Ponomarev (right)
The Communist Party has won a surprise victory against President Vladimir Putin's ruling party in a mayoral race in Russia's third largest city of Novosibirsk.

Election officials said on April 7 that communist lawmaker Anatoly Lokot won almost 44 percent of the vote against the acting mayor Vladimir Znatkov from the ruling United Russia party, who took more than 39 percent.

Lokot won after another opposition candidate, Ilya Ponomaryov, from the left-leaning A Just Russia party, quit the race and told his supporters to back Lokot as the single opposition candidate.

Ponomaryov has coordinated a number of anti-Putin protests and was the only lawmaker last month to vote against Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea.

Novosibirsk, a city of 1.5 million residents around 2,800 kilometers southeast of Moscow, is often called the "capital of Siberia."

Based on reporting by AFP and Interfax