Moscow mayor re-elected amid poll arrests

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
President Vladimir Putin speaks with Moscow mayor Sergei Sobyanin (left) in the Russian capital on September 9, 2017. AFP

Moscow mayor re-elected amid poll arrests

RUSSIAN President Vladimir Putin’s close ally has been overwhelmingly re-elected Moscow’s mayor, election officials said on Monday, following a poll overshadowed by protests over a pension reform.

Sergei Sobyanin, mayor of the Russian capital since 2010, received 70.02 percent of the vote, according to results released by the Moscow election commission. Turnout stood at 30.8 percent.

In 2013, Sobyanin barely escaped a second-round run-off after a strong challenge from protest leader Alexei Navalny, winning 51.4 per cent of the vote, with Putin’s top critic unexpectedly picking up over a quarter of the ballots.

This time round serious opposition candidates were kept off the ballot paper in favour of the incumbent.

Ahead of the vote a Moscow court jailed Navalny for 30 days, just a couple weeks before he planned to stage a rally against a deeply controversial pension reform on election day.

The election day was overshadowed by public anger and mass arrests during nationwide protests against the hugely unpopular pension reform.

Police arrested 1,018 people, mainly in Saint Petersburg and the Urals city of Ekaterinburg, who were taking part in demonstrations in dozens of Russian cities, independent monitor OVD-info said.

In Moscow, police opened two criminal probes over violence against representatives of the authorities, the monitor said.

’Last straw’

At least 2,000 people rallied in central Moscow, an AFP correspondent said, as the capital held a mayoral election the Kremlin-backed incumbent was sure to win.

There were shouts of “Putin is a thief” and “Down with the Tsar” in the Moscow crowd.

“They’re spending money on the army in Syria, in Ukraine, for the president’s friends, but nothing for pensioners,” Olga Chenushka, a 44-year-old finance manager said.

Tatyana Rechetskaya, a 21-year-old primary school teacher, described the reforms as “the last straw, we can’t bear it”.

Plans to raise the state pension age to 60 for women and 65 for men has led to a rare outburst of public anger and seen President Vladimir Putin’s approval ratings take a hit.

The hike, the first such move in nearly 90 years, would bring retirement more in line with the West, but critics point out a lower life expectancy means many will never see their pensions.

MOST VIEWED

  • Chinese influx pushing locals, Westerners out of Preah Sihanouk

    Some within the Kingdom’s tourism industry have speculated that the recent influx of Chinese visitors may hinder domestic tourism as the price of accommodations in the coastal city of Sihanoukville continues to rise. Preah Sihanouk province, which has become a hotbed for Chinese investment

  • ‘Dire consequences’ from sanctions, warns AmCham

    American businesspeople in Cambodia have warned that any sanction against the Kingdom would have “dire consequences” that could push Cambodia even further into the arms of China. In a letter to US senators and representatives dated Monday, the American Chamber of Commerce Cambodia (AmCham) said

  • CPP: ‘Behave or Sokha suffers’

    The ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) spokesman warned Kem Monovithya on Thursday that her attempt to damage “national reputation and prestige” would lead to her father, Kem Sokha, receiving even harsher punishment. Sok Eysan issued the warning as Monovithya, who is the court dissolved

  • Preah Sihanouk beach developments halted

    After receiving an order from Hun Sen, Minister of Land Management Chea Sophara led a team of experts and relevant officials to Sihanoukville to call a halt to the illegal development of a beach. The prime minister ordered the Prek Treng beach in Otres commune