Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Moscow mayor re-elected amid poll arrests

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 ‘prank’ threat video is no joke for Cambodia

    ‘Preah Sihanouk province, in the next three years, whether safe or chaotic, will be under my control,” declared a Chinese man in a white T-shirt, as another 19 men stood behind him shirtless, in a video that went viral on social media last month. After the

  • Woman detained for murder of hairdresser over unpaid $1K debt

    A woman has been held in connection with the murder of a 40-year-old widow. The victim’s daughter claims the motive was the suspect’s unpaid four million riel ($1,000) debt to her mother. The 17-year-old girl, Pich Sievmey, said her mother, Koem Yaneang, a hairdresser

  • ABA reports $71.8M net profit

    ABA Bank, a member of the National Bank of Canada group, recorded a net profit of $71.8 million last year, up 55 per cent from $46.2 million in 2017, its annual report released on Monday stated. A rise in the bank’s loan portfolio and the expansion of stated

  • ‘Life goes on’ if Cambodia loses Everything But Arms

    Cambodia's business sector is exploring ways to mitigate any fallout from a possible loss of access to the EU’s Everything But Arms (EBA) agreement as talks continue before the 28-member bloc makes a final decision. The EU monitoring process is set to conclude in