Viktor Zimin, the acting governor of the Russian region of Khakasia, has withdrawn from the second round of the gubernatorial election that was scheduled for September 23, citing poor health.
Zimin, the candidate of the ruling United Russia party, made the announcement on September 21 in a letter to the regional election commission, an unidentified election official told the Interfax news agency.
In the first round of voting on September 9, Zimin came in second, polling 32 percent of the vote compared to 45 percent for Communist Party candidate Valentin Konovalov. Andrei Filyagin, of the A Just Russia party, came in third with 11 percent.
With Zimin's withdrawal, the second round of voting will be postponed for two weeks. Filyagin will be offered the chance to participate. If he refuses, Konovalov will run unopposed and will need to pick up at least 51 percent of the vote.
Across the country, United Russia candidates failed to win first-round victories in four regions -- Primorye, Khabarovsk, Khakasia, and Vladimir -- on September 9. Voters were angry after the government of Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and the United Russia party earlier this summer proposed raising retirement ages.