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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Bashkir Vote Goes Into a Runoff

Itar-TassBashkir leader Murtaza Rakhimov voting in Ufa on Sunday. He got 43.03% of the vote.
Bashkortostan's fiercely contested presidential election went into a runoff Monday after the incumbent, Murtaza Rakhimov, failed to win more than half of the vote.

Rakhimov won 43.03 percent in the Sunday election, while his two main rivals -- Sergei Veremeyenko, a co-owner of Kremlin-connected Mezhprombank, and Ralif Safin, a former LUKoil vice president and a current shareholder in the oil giant -- secured 25.15 percent and 22.89 percent, respectively, according to preliminary results.

The republic's top election official, Baryi Kindzyagulov, said results have been counted from all but 100 of Bashkortostan's 3,448 polling stations. He said Safin may edge out Veremeyenko after all the votes are tallied but stressed that Rakhimov has qualified to participate in the runoff.

Final results will be released on Wednesday or Thursday, and the second round of voting will be held Dec. 21.

Rakhimov, who has run Bashkortostan with an iron fist for 13 years, has been repeatedly accused of harassing the opposition, his rivals and media outlets. Local prosecutors determined last week that Rakhimov's chief of staff had ordered a batch of falsified ballots printed up for the Sunday election.

The Central Elections Commission said 100 complaints of violations in the Bashkir election have been filed.