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Russian Far East to hold new election after vote rigging

Andrei Ishchenko, communist candidate of the governor election in Primorye region, centre, attends a protest rally with his supporters in Vladivostok, Russia's Far East, Monday, Sept. 17, 2018. Ishchenko said on Monday he is starting a hunger strike over alleged irregularities in a gubernatorial race. (AP Photo/Alexander Khitrov)

MOSCOW (AP) — Election officials in Russia’s Far East have cancelled the results of Sunday’s gubernatorial election following reports of blatant vote rigging and say they will hold a new vote.

The Election Commission in the Primorye region voted Thursday to nullify the results due to numerous violations and called for a new vote in December.

The Kremlin candidate beat the Communist nominee by a narrow margin following an extraordinary last-minute surge of votes in his favor. Russia’s election chief acknowledged the violations Wednesday and accused election officials in Primorye of “stealing” 24,000 votes.

The move is the first time in many years that Russian officials have paid attention to widespread reports of vote rigging.

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