Local election authorities in Nizhny Novgorod have annulled last weekend’s election in which Andrei Klimentyev, a nightclub owner with two criminal convictions, was elected mayor of Russia’s third largest city. The regional electoral commission claimed to be acting in response to allegations of vote-buying, but a statement by the chairman of Russia’s Central Electoral Commission, Aleksandr Ivanchenko, that his commission would "draw appropriate conclusions on legislation to prevent persons with criminal records from coming to power" made it clear that the federal authorities were more concerned about Klimentyev’s criminal past than about whether or not he bribed voters to vote for him. Klimentyev blamed the decision to annul the election on interference from Moscow and vowed to run again. A repeat election must be held in three months’ time; the precise date will be fixed by the city Duma. (RTR, April 1)
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