[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Monday, 5 December 2005, 12:38 GMT
Pro-Putin bloc triumphs in Moscow
People vote in Moscow
The vote was seen as a key mid-term test in Russian politics
A pro-Kremlin party has won elections to Moscow's city assembly comfortably, with nearly all the votes counted.

United Russia, led by Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov, won 47% of the vote, while the Communists were second with nearly 17%.

The vote was seen as a dress rehearsal for Russia's parliamentary poll in 2007 and presidential elections in 2008.

The city election commission said United Russia would get 28 of the 35 assembly seats, the Communists four and the liberal Yabloko bloc three.

The election officials said about 34% of Moscow's nearly seven million eligible voters cast their ballots. A turnout of at least 20% was required to make the poll valid.

Lively campaign

One of Yabloko's leaders, Sergei Mitrokhin, alleged that "there was a huge number of violations" during the election.

Mr Luzhkov insisted the poll was fair.

Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov
Mayor Luzhkov has overseen prestige projects in Moscow
More than 450 candidates were registered as candidates.

Twenty lawmakers were elected on party lists and the rest as individual contenders.

The BBC's Emma Simpson in Moscow says the city assembly contest was a much more lively affair than usual - with extra significance this year because the new legislature will have expanded powers.

Under electoral reforms, the deputies will have a say in choosing the next mayor, which is a very powerful, influential post.

Luzhkov's clout

Mayor Luzhkov is unlikely to take up his seat, our correspondent says.

For him, this contest is thought to be more about ensuring that those elected to the city council will be more loyal to him than the Kremlin.

His term is due to expire in 2007 and he will want to protect his legacy, as well as political and business allies, our correspondent says.

Opinion polls had suggested that the nationalist party Rodina would do well. But at the eleventh hour, Russia's Supreme Court disqualified it from the race after ruling that one of Rodina's TV campaign ads inspired racial hatred.

The advert showed Rodina's party leader, Dmitry Rogozin, ordering a small group of men of Caucasian appearance to pick up litter they dropped on the ground. "Let's rid our city of trash," said the accompanying slogan.

Rodina is Russia's fastest-growing political party and some analysts believe that its exclusion from the race is more to do with Rodina's emergence as a potential threat to United Russia.

In the end, the Communists appear to have benefited from the scandal.

Meanwhile, a coalition of liberal parties managed to secure 11%. The election was seen as a key test for the liberal opposition, who joined forces for the first time in Moscow.

For them, the question is whether they will present a united front in the next national elections as well.

Russia Duma election must stand
16 Dec 04 |  Europe
MPs back Putin plan for regions
03 Dec 04 |  Europe

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific