Russia: Putin’s ally Sergei Sobyanin re-elected Moscow mayor

Sergei Sobyanin, Putin’s former chief-of-staff, received 70 percent of the vote in Moscow’s mayoral election.

Moscow''s Mayor Sergei Sobyanin
Moscow's Mayor Sergei Sobyanin cast his ballot during mayor election [Sergei Karpukhin/Reuters]

Kremlin ally, Sergei Sobyanin has been re-elected as Moscow’s mayor, according to results released by Moscow election commission. 

Sobyanin, mayor of the Russian capital since 2010, received 70.02 percent of the vote, the city electoral commission reported on Monday. 

Turnout stood at 30.8 percent.

The candidate thanked voters on social media, “thanks to all who voted for me or other candidates,” he wrote.

“Regardless of the difference in views, we all love our city,” he added.

In 2013, Sobyanin barely escaped a second-round runoff after a strong challenge from protest leader Alexei Navalny, winning 51.4 percent of the vote, with Putin’s top critic unexpectedly picking up over a quarter of the ballots.

In advance of the vote, a Moscow court jailed Navalny for 30 days, just a couple weeks before he planned to stage a rally on election day.

On Tuesday, Russia also warned Google against “meddling” in local elections by hosting Navalny’s videos calling for mass protests.

In a nationwide day of polls, members of the ruling United Russia party also won in elections for governors and legislators in other Russian cities.

But elections were overshadowed by dissatisfaction with government plans to raise the pension age by at least five years as the country struggles with a demographic crisis.

Putin, who is 65, has attested that the pension age should be raised to 60 for women and 65 for men because there is an escalating burden on the pension system.

However, life expectancy in Russia remains low, at 66 for men and 77 for women, meaning that 43 percent of Russian men are not expected to reach the age of 65, according to data from the World Bank. 

Putin promised in 2005 never to raise the age for Russians to receive a pension, but Russia is facing a crisis, and President Putin seems not to have other alternatives. 

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies