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Russians Protest Possible Abolition Of Mayoral Elections

RZHEV, Russia -- Some 100 residents of the western Russian city of Rzhev blocked a central street on September 29 to protest the possible abolition of direct elections for the mayor's post, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.
The Rzhev city duma is discussing legislation under which the mayor would be elected not by city residents but rather the municipal council.
The protesters brought traffic to a standstill by constantly crossing and re-crossing the city's central Lenin Street. They say they will continue blocking traffic until Rzhev residents are brought into the discussion about the draft legislation on electing the city's mayor.
Leonid Tishkevich, a representative of the mayor's office, told the duma session he "will not allow anyone from the streets to take part in the duma session."
The protest was organized by the local branches of the Communist Party and A Just Russia party.
Several Russian towns and cities have abolished direct elections for their mayors in recent years in favor of votes being held by the municipal council.

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