Publication: Monitor Volume: 1 Issue: 115

Russia’s Central Electoral Commission (TsIK) chairman Nikolai Ryabov announced yesterday that it does not recognize the validity of the Kalmyk republic’s October 15 election of president Kirsan Ilyumzhinov to a second, seven-year term. The commission objected to the fact that Ilyumzhinov ran unopposed and to unspecified "gross violations" of the electoral law and human rights. According to preliminary returns, voter turnout was 78 percent and Ilyumzhinov garnered approximately 90 percent of the votes cast. (7)

Ilyumzhinov is a 33-year old businessman who amassed a large personal fortune as head of Kalmykia’s largest banking group, before being elected president for a five-year term in May 1993. He decided to solicit a second, extended mandate at this time "as a test of the electorate’s trust." Ilyumzhinov has on occasion antagonized Yeltsin’s circle, as in October 1993 when he openly sympathized with the Russian parliament against Yeltsin’s onslaught. The TsIK’s decision could serve as a means of pressure and potentially as a basis for attempting to remove him before the expiration of his first term.

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