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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Region Calls Off Duma Elections

The by-election that was to have resurrected the flagging political fortunes of would-be president Viktor Chernomyrdin collapsed in bizarre fashion Wednesday after the former prime minister pulled out of the race.

In a trademark piece of Russia's political theater of the absurd, this Sunday's election for a State Duma deputy for the northern Yamal-Nenetsk region imploded after two other candidates followed Chernomyrdin's move Wednesday and withdrew their candidacies, Itar-Tass reported.

The two challengers said there was not much point in continuing as most of the voters wanted to elect Chernomyrdin. But their hasty withdrawal from the electoral contest raised suspicions that they had only entered the race in the first place to give Chernomyrdin some form of quasi-opposition and validate the vote.

The regional authorities were left with no option but to scrap the race as only one candidate was left.

Chernomyrdin said Tuesday he had no wish to run in the election.