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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Campaign Violations Rife in Krasnoyarsk

Itar-TassChurov speaking to reporters after elections in the Krasnoyarsk region.
In the final regional election before December's State Duma contest, United Russia cruised to victory Sunday in Krasnoyarsk following a campaign that opposition parties and Central Elections Commission chief Vladimir Churov said were riddled by violations.

The pro-Kremlin party captured 42 percent of the vote, and the Communist Party placed second with just over 20 percent, according to preliminary results posted on the Central Elections Commission web site Monday.

A second pro-Kremlin party, A Just Russia, came third with 12 percent, followed by the Liberal Democratic Party with 11 percent. The Union of Right Forces, or SPS, received 7 percent of the vote, clearing the barrier for representation in the regional legislative assembly.

United Russia's first-place finish was its 14th in 15 regional elections this year, which have been widely seen as a dry run for the Duma election.

The only upset came March 11 in the Stavropol region, where A Just Region came out on top.

Churov said the Krasnoyarsk campaign had been marred by violations of election law and "black PR," a term that covers everything from negative campaigning and attack ads to outright slander.

"I have a collection of more than thirty examples of leaflets and newspapers containing violations of the law," Churov said in comments broadcast Monday on NTV television.

Churov said all of the parties on the ballot in Krasnoyarsk had bent the rules. SPS and Communist officials in Krasnoyarsk said, however, that United Russia was the most egregious offender.

If illegal and negative campaign tactics are used in the December election, "it means our country is being degraded," SPS leader Nikita Belykh said in comments reported by Interfax.

United Russia activists distributed free concert tickets outside polling stations, Yury Tebin, head of the SPS election headquarters in Krasnoyarsk, said by telephone Monday.

Turnout in Sunday's vote was lower than expected at just 36.6 percent, Churov said, Novy Region news agency reported.

The results so far are an accurate indicator of the likely breakdown in December's federal elections, Alexei Makarkin of the Center for Political Technologies said.

United Russia, the Communists, A Just Russia and the LDPR will "without a doubt" win seats in the next Duma, and SPS "has a good chance to do so" also, Makarkin said.