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Navalny Calls for Protest Following Election Defeat

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has called for his supporters to protest the results of Moscow's mayoral election, which saw Kremlin ally Sergei Sobyanin elected to the post.

The anti-corruption blogger has denounced the poll results from Sunday's election, saying the vote count had many serious violations.

Results released Monday show incumbent Sobyanin winning just over 51 percent of the vote to Navalny's 27 percent. Four other candidates were far behind. Sobyanin needed more than half the votes to avoid a runoff.

Navalny said Monday there was "clear falsification" of votes and Sobyanin's majority was "guaranteed only by fraud." In a statement posted to his blog, the opposition leader said he and his team do not acknowledge the published results and have called for talks with Sobyanin's team.

He also demanded a recount, warning he may call on Muscovites to carry out acts of "civil disobedience" if his "legal demands" are ignored.

Kremlin-backed Sobyanin was widely expected to win. He is Russian President Vladimir Putin's former chief of staff. Sobyanin was appointed mayor three years ago.



Navalny campaigned under the burden of a five-year prison sentence. The 37-year-old opposition leader, who has exposed alleged government corruption, says the charges against him are politically motivated and intended to silence him.

Navalny received his sentence in July, leaving the courtroom in handcuffs. A day later he was suddenly released, pending appeal.

Navalny, who was blocked from state-run television, conducted a Western-style campaign, mobilizing the support of thousands of volunteers.

By contrast, Sobyanin was all but invisible throughout the campaign. Instead, he focused on sprucing up the city of Moscow. Analysts say his campaign strategy was designed to remind voters of his access to the Kremlin and its money.

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