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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Titov Takes Samara Gubernatorial Election

Veteran liberal Konstantin Titov has won re-election as governor of the relatively prosperous, market-oriented region of Samara in central Russia, officials said Monday.

Titov resigned as governor after winning only 1.5 percent of the vote in the March 26 presidential election. With support for his presidential bid low even in the Samara region, Titov had said he needed to win back his electors' confidence.

A spokeswoman for the Samara election commission said preliminary results gave Titov 53.25 percent of the votes cast in Sunday's regional election, enough to avoid a runoff.

His nearest rival, Viktor Tarkhov, who heads a local public foundation, won 29.23 percent of the vote.

Titov has pioneered market reforms in the Samara region, which lies along the Volga River. He has attracted foreign investment and moved to create a free market in agricultural land despite continued restrictions at the national level.

Last summer, Titov joined the newly formed Union of Right Forces, or SPS, led by former Prime Minister Sergei Kiriyenko, but fell out with the party when it declined to back his bid for the presidency.

Last month, President Vladimir Putin named Kiriyenko as his new representative to the Volga district, which includes Samara, in an overhaul of regional government that has divided Russia into seven vast districts in a bid to rein in independent-minded governors.

This will require Titov and Kiriyenko to work closely on policy in Samara.