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Russian Far East votes in rare election re-run

The Russian Far East region of Primorye Sunday held a rare election re-run Sunday after protests over vote-rigging allegations led Moscow to order a fresh vote, the first such case in modern Russia.

The re-run comes three months after an electoral commission cancelled the results of a poll for governor after claims it was rigged in favour of a candidate backed by President Vladimir Putin.

Oleg Kozhemyako, appointed by Putin as the region’s acting governor after the September election, was leading, according to tallies late Sunday.

Kozhemyako is the former governor of the Far Eastern island of Sakhalin and is running as an independent.

Three other candidates stood.

Russia’s Central Election Commission said the new vote did not see mass violations of the rules.

A representative of the commission, Evgeny Shevchenko, told Russian media the vote was taking place “with strict accordance of the law.”

“The election commission of the Primorye region is doing everything possible for the election to be absolutely legitimate,” Shevchenko was quoted as saying by the TASS news agency.

September’s dispute erupted after a Communist Party candidate Andrei Ishchenko accused ruling party representative Andrei Tarasenko of “stealing” victory.

The Kremlin suffered several local election blows in September, with voters across Russia angry over rising poverty and a controversial pension reform pushed by Putin.