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Protesters Challenge Russian Regional Election Results

SARATOV, Russia -- About 250 Russian opposition activists in the western city of Saratov have protested the official results of this month's regional elections that handed victory to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's ruling United Russia party, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

The protesters were from the Communist Party, the Liberal Democratic Party, Yabloko, A Just Russia, and the Solidarity movement.

The protesters say that the March 13 polls were rigged in order to ensure the election of United Russia candidates. They say about one-third of the ballot papers for United Russia candidates were illegally added at polling stations.
Yabloko's regional leader, Dmitry Konychev, told the protesters, "We demand the elections results be immediately declared illegal and that new elections be held." He added that the activists would file lawsuits with local law enforcement institutions and the courts demanding the elections be declared void.

The protesters also demanded the dismissal of the Saratov City Duma and the imposition of direct presidential rule in Saratov Oblast prior to scheduling new elections.

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