AFP: Pro-Kremlin candidate loses regional runoff vote24 September 2018 | 01:10 | FOCUS News Agency
The vote in Khabarovsk was one of four runoffs held after incumbents or acting governors from the ruling United Russia party failed to secure first-round victories in September 9 elections.
Sergei Furgal from the ultra-nationalist LDPR party won 70 percent of the vote against current governor Vyacheslav Shport from United Russia, who received 28 percent, according to figures released by the Russian Central Election Commission.
The participation rate was nearly 42 percent.
Both sides said the vote was affected by fraud but Electoral Commission President Ella Pamfilova said any violations were not enough to affect the result.
"We are witnessing an intense struggle for the governorship," Pamfilova said, quoted by the Interfax news agency.
The result comes after widespread discontent over a Kremlin-backed plan to raise the retirement age, which has triggered street protests and led to a major drop in Putin's approval ratings.
Voters across Russia are also angry over rising poverty, partly due to Western sanctions.
The Kremlin earlier this month also suffered election blows in the regions of Primorsky Krai, Khakasia and Vladimir, where ruling party candidates failed to win in the first round.
In an unprecedented move, Russian authorities on Thursday cancelled the result of the vote in Primorsky Krai after claims of vote-rigging in favour of a candidate backed by Putin triggered protests.
A day earlier, the country's election chief recommended re-running the election -- the first such case in the history of modern Russia -- citing numerous violations.
Second round results for the region of Vladimir are due to be announced on Monday.
The second round vote in Khakasia has been postponed until October 7 after the unexpected withdrawal of the ruling party candidate, who was trailing after the first round.
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