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70% landslide win: Poltavchenko will remain the city’s head

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St. Petersburg has elected its governor. After 100% of votes have been counted, Georgiy Poltavchenko left his competitors far behind and achieved a landslide win with 79.3% of the votes. The city’s election commission’s main protocol will be voiced later.

Candidate from the Communist Party Irina Ivanova won 9,07% of the votes. Konstantin Sukhenko, representing the LibDems, got 3,83%. Andrey Petrov from the Rodina Party with 2,36%, Takhir Bikbayev from the Green Party with 2,16%. Mariya Marchenko reports on how residents of St. Petersburg elected the governor.

Governor – and soon he will not be called “acting” anymore – Georgiy Poltavchenko achieved a convincing victory. Almost 80 % of voters chose to keep him as the city’s head

Alexey Puchnin, chairman of St. Petersburg Election Commission: “Poltavchenko Georgiy Sergeevich - 1 094 797 votes. This is 79, 22%”

This was a sleepless night for the election commission. Never before has it counted all the votes so quickly – in under 12 hours. Second place – trailing by 70% from Poltavchenko – was won by Irina Ivanova, followed by Konstantin Sukhenko, Andrey Petrov and Takhir Bikbayev. Turnout exceeded 39% - also a record-setter. International observers equated it to London mayor elections in 2012

Mateusz Piskorski, international election observer (Poland): “This suggests that there was no artificial pressure on the voters, no artificial attempts to increase the turnout. All those who wanted to take part in the elections in St. Petersburg did so”

Residents of St. Petersburg were more active in fulfilling their civic duty than residents of the world’s most democratic country – the USA. Last year only 24% of New Yorkers turned up for the mayoral elections. And St. Petersburg voting was conscious, not a protest one. Only 3% of ballots were damaged – less than during the previous elections of the city’s head. Later, at the Dvortsovaya Square, Georgiy Poltavchenko thanked the residents for being active. They could have easily gone to their dachas or go mushroom picking

Georgiy Poltavchenko, acting governor of St. Petersburg: “I thank you, fellas, for being so involved. Glory to Russia! Hooray!”

He looked lively and joyful on stage. But later – live on “Sankt-Peterburg” TV channel he admitted – the election race exhausted him

Georgiy Poltavchenko, acting governor of St. Petersburg: “I feel relief that this is all over, this election race. I like to work – do something – not talking on TV”

“Do something” means – first and foremost – is to fulfill the platform promise. The City Development Strategy until 2030. And its not such a good time either – sanctions, international isolation and development of economy only upon internal reserves.

Mikhail Piotrovskiy, director of the Hermitage: “St. Petersburg has its own mission. The trend of nowadays is isolation, but St. Petersburg was built not to keep Russia isolated. It must retain its role of this window, this door to Europe. Maybe now this mission is even bigger than before. We must do everything to keep this bridge intact”

One of the best on his school’s basketball team, avid fan of “Zenit” football club, KGB officer, President’s envoy in the central federal district. St. Petersburg’s 72nd governor turned out to be a good anti-crisis manager. Scrapped the expensive Orlovsky tunnel under the Neva and the Novo-Admiralteiskiy Bridge projects, redirecting resources to the already launched projects – building subway, roads and a new stadium at the Krestovskiy island.

Mikhail Boyarskiy, actor: “Is Poltavchenko the boss? Yes, im sure. He’s an orthodox Christian. He doesn’t talk, but does things. I like people wo do things. I like him. He’s a real man”

What urged him to go to elections? Poltavchenko has been repeatedly saying he had 4 motivations: support of the residents, trust of the president, knowledge of St. Petersburg’s problems and immense will to serve the city’s needs.

Mariya Marchenko, reporter: “Not handpicked from the above, but an elected governor – the first in 11 years. This is honorable, beyond doubt, but also entails a lot of responsibility. Residents entrusted him with their future, and he has to justify that trust”

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