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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Vote Ruled Valid

ST. PETERSBURG -- Denying she was under pressure from City Hall, a St. Petersburg judge ruled valid the controversial Oct. 8 Legislative Assembly vote that paved the way for Governor Vladimir Yakovlev to move up the date of gubernatorial elections to coincide with nationwide Duma elections.

In her ruling Monday, Tatyana Gunko dismissed eyewitness accounts of independent observers who said the voting had been falsified during the raucous session in question, which involved lawmakers kicking and beating each other.

The vote for governor had been scheduled for April, but pro-Yakovlev lawmakers said they believed Yakovlev would stand a better chance of being re-elected if his opponents had less time to prepare a campaign. Prior to the Oct. 8 vote, they had tried unsuccessfully eight times to pass a law to move the date of the elections up to Dec. 19.