BFF-31 Kremlin rejects claims of widespread fraud in Saint Petersburg vote





Kremlin rejects claims of widespread fraud in Saint Petersburg vote

SAINT PETERSBURG, Sept 13, 2019 (BSS/AFP) – The Kremlin on Friday dismissed
claims of widespread fraud in local Saint Petersburg polls where the result
has still not been announced nearly a week after election day.

Controversy surrounds the vote for city governor that resulted in victory
for an unpopular acquaintance of President Vladimir Putin.

The post is equivalent to that of mayor in other cities.

On Sunday, Russia’s second city also elected municipal deputies but five
days later authorities have not yet completed the vote count.

Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Friday that the Kremlin was unaware
of “any situations that may somehow cast doubt on the election in Saint

He dismissed possible irregularities as minor “hiccups” and said the
Central Election Commission was looking into them.

Asked if the Kremlin considered the continuing vote count in Putin’s
hometown acceptable, Peskov referred questions to election officials.

Opposition figures and observers have repeatedly complained about what
they describe as egregious violations including instances of ballot stuffing
and vote buying.

They claim that officials have been re-counting votes in precincts won by
the opposition in favour of the ruling party United Russia.

“They are stealing the vote from us, they are re-writing protocols,”
charged Andrei Pivovarov, a coordinator for the United Democrats, a coalition
of independent candidates.

“I don’t know whether you can use the word ‘hiccups’ to describe what is
regulated by the Criminal Code,” he told AFP.

“What’s happening now — the falsification of the elections — is a

Lev Shlosberg, who represents the liberal Yabloko party in a regional
assembly in the northwestern city of Pskov, said that those behind vote fraud
should face trial.

“The story of the Saint Peterburg municipal elections in 2019 is a story
of how mafia seized the city,” he said on Twitter.

Acting governor Alexander Beglov, who is widely derided as unqualified and
gaffe-prone, won the Saint Petersburg election in the absence of meaningful