Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny gestures as he speaks to the media at his headquarters in Moscow, Russia, Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013. Two exit polls in Moscow’s mayoral election are predicting a stronger showing than expected for opposition leader Alexei Navalny. Sunday’s mayoral election is a potentially pivotal contest that has energized the small opposition in ways that could pose a risk to the Kremlin in the days and years ahead. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
MOSCOW (AP) — Opposition leader Alexei Navalny swept up far more votes than expected Sunday while finishing second in Moscow’s mayoral election, a pivotal contest that has energized Russia’s small opposition in ways that could pose a risk to the Kremlin in the days and years ahead.
Even so, Navalny said he suspected that the vote count was inflated for the Kremlin-backed incumbent and he threatened to call his supporters out onto the street in protest on Monday if the concerns were not addressed.
Nearly complete results released early Monday showed Navalny with more than 27 percent of the vote, while incumbent Sergei Sobyanin held a clear lead with about 51 percent, just enough to avoid a runoff. Exit polls, however, predicted Navalny would get as much as 32 percent.
As the results began to trickle out only two hours after the polls closed, Navalny said he suspected the vote count was being manipulated.
“We don’t recognize the results that are currently being announced, and I would like to say that we won’t give up one vote that we received,” Navalny told reporters at his campaign headquarters late Sunday. “I call on the Kremlin and the mayor’s office to restrain Login to read more