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Navalny calls for protests, recount after disputed election

Alexei Navalny and his wife Yuliya after his release from jail on July 19, 2013Russian anti-corruption blogger Alexei Navalny called on supporters to protest results of Moscow’s mayoral election after Kremlin ally Sergei Sobyanin was elected to the post.

Navlany said results from Sunday’s election reflected serious electoral violations.

The incumbent Sobyanin won just over 51 percent of the vote, according to results released Monday, with Navalny at 27 percent. Four other candidates all trailed 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.”

On his popular blog, Navalny, who trained as a lawyer, said he and his team do not acknowledge the published results and have called for talks with Sobyanin’s team.

He demanded a recount and warned of “civil disobedience” if his legal demands are ignored.

In 2010, Navalny famously accused Russian pipleline giant Transneft of fraud that resulted in $4 billion in losses for the state-owned company.

Sobyanin was President Vladimir Putin’s former chief of staff. He was appointed mayor three years ago. The election Sunday was the first for the post in a decade.

Navalny, 37, was sentenced to five years in prison in July for embezzement. He said the charges were meant to silence him.

A day after his conviction and sentencing, he was suddenly released at the request of prosecutors pending his appeal.

The charismatic Navalny was blocked from appearing on state-run television during his campaign for mayor.

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