On October 28, voters in Orel Oblast re-electedincumbent governor Yegor Stroev to a third term in office. Stroev, who isalso speaker of the upper house of parliament, the Federation Council,received 92 percent of the votes; his three rivals, taken together, garnered some 3 percent (Lenta.ru, October 29).
As the final tally indicates, Stroev had no real rival. Only the Union ofRight-Wing Forces (SPS) made any attempt to challenge him, claiming thatStroev had no right to run for a third term and that he had abused theadministrative resources available to him to collect the supporters’signatures required for registration as a candidate (see the Monitor,October 24).
These attempts to derail Stroev failed because hardly anyone took themseriously. The only real question concerning the election outcome waswhether Stroev would be able to repeat his performance in the 1997gubernatorial election, when he won 93.6 percent of the vote (Vremya MN,October 25).
The other issue exciting comment is who will replace Stroev as Speaker ofthe upper chamber. Under existing law, he is required to step down asSpeaker following his re-election as governor. There are three possiblescenarios. The first is that an exception will be made and Stroev willremain Speaker. The second is that he will give up the post to one of theleaders of “Federatsiya”–the dominant faction in the Federation Council.The third is that former Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov will take over asSpeaker. As things stand at present, the first scenario seems the mostlikely, to judge from the fact that the session Federation Council plannedfor November, during which Stroev’s successor was expected to be named, hasbeen postponed until January (Izvestia, October 26)
RUSSIAN AIR RAIDS ON GEORGIA ESCALATE.