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Number of Khimki Mayoral Hopefuls Up to 15

Sergei Troitsky

Two more candidates submitted registration papers Friday to take part in the race for mayor of the Moscow region town of Khimki, bringing the number of hopefuls in the high-profile race to 15.

Former Yabloko party member Igor Belousov, now of the Novaya Rossia party, and Liberal Democrat Maxim Rokhmistrov on Friday handed in documents to register as candidates, Interfax reported.

They join a river port stevedore, a metal band singer, opposition leader Yevgenia Chirikova, and former Moscow prefect Oleg Mitvol, among others, as hopefuls in the election set for Oct. 14.

Khimki has been a focus of protest activity in recent years, including by environmental activists incensed by construction of a highway through a local forest, and the vote is seen as a test of the opposition's ability to compete in a race against candidates backed by the political establishment.

Acting Khimki Mayor Oleg Shakhov, formerly a deputy governor of Tula region, will likely run as an independent in the election, Moscow region lawmaker Valentina Kabanova of United Russia told RIA-Novosti on Friday. The ruling party will determine who to back in the race next week, party secretary Sergei Neverov told the news agency.

Frontman of the band Korrozia Metalla (Metal Corrosion) Sergei Troitsky, also known as Pauk (Spider), put in documents to register as a candidate earlier this week. His ideas for the city include granting residents stakes in commercial projects in the city and the unusual move of filling all the city cabinet posts with Germans, "because our bureaucrats all steal," he told Interfax on Monday.

Chirikova, who has been backed by the Yabloko party, the opposition Parnas coalition and anti-corruption lawyer Alexei Navalny, has said she considers all candidates in the race besides Shakhov to be "spoilers."

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