The monastery on Solovki rises like a fairytale castle in between the water and the sky.(Photo: Thomas Nilsen)
Independent candidate Aleksei Yefinov got most of the votes in the recent mayoral elections at Solovki, the famous islands in the White Sea, with narrow margin to the United Russia’s candidate. However, the local election commission quickly disputed the results.
Preliminary results made public on the election day showed that Yefinov got 130 votes ahead of United Russia’s candidate Nataliya Yakovleva (124 votes), Severnaya Nedelya reports. The local electorate includes about 600 people. The elections were held on 19 December.
However, the election victory of Mr Yefinov was quickly disputed by the local election commission. According to the commission, a number of complaints about irregularities were reported after the vote. The commission subsequently declared the vote invalid and decided that new elections will be held on 13 March.
The decision infuriorated Leader of the Liberal Democratic Party Vladimir Zhirinovsky. He believes the elections are being manipulated by regional authorities. Solovki plays a special role not only in Arkhangelsk Oblast, but also in all of Russia, and significant sums of federal money are being invested in the islands’ unique historic sites.
-At Solovki, it is all about corruption. Billions are being spent on the local housing sector and on on the construction of the museums, he said, newspaperBusiness Class reports.
Yefinov, currently working in the Velsk municipal administration (Arkhangelsk Oblast), formerly represented the Liberal Democratic Party. Yakovleva today works as deputy leader of the Solovki administration.
As previously reported by BarentsObserver, there have several cases of apparent vote rigging in Arkhangelsk Oblast. Among them is the case with Larisa Bazanova, the opposition politician who was first declared winner of the Arkhangelsk mayoral elections in 2008, but subsequently lost the victory to United Russia’s Viktor Pavlenko after a recount of votes.