Thursday, August 17, 2017

Moscow mayoral election closer than expected by analysts

Sergei Sobyanin's victory over Putin opponent Alexei Navalny in the Moscow mayoral election Monday was tighter than expected for many Russian political analysts, leaving many wondering whether Putin's influence is dwindling in a politically divided city.

As Moscow's incumbent mayor, Sobyanin's campaign received strong support from Putin, as well as from the city's police departments, justice systems and television media. Meanwhile, Navalny's campaign focused on raising the opposition candidate's profile and relatability to the voting public in Moscow, DW reports.

While Sobyanin's victory over Navalny was widely anticipated, the margin by which the incumbent mayor was reelected was smaller than many analysts predicted, due in part to diminished voter participation. Despite the lack of voters, Navalny managed to rack up a surprisingly large number of votes from Moscow's middle class, an indication of Moscow's potential for a more liberal political approach.

Political scientists have noted that anti-Kremlin pundit Yevgeny Roizman's victory in the Yekaterinburg mayoral race on Monday could portend a growing opposition-minded public-- a potential blow to president Vladimir Putin's regional influence, according to DW.