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Moscow's Mayoral Election Sees 18% Turnout

With more than 3,300 polling stations open Sunday in Moscow's first mayoral election in nearly a decade, 18 percent of residents showed up to vote by 3 p.m.

Valentin Gorbunov, head of the Moscow Election Commission, said at a news conference Sunday that voter turnout would not exceed 20 percent.

Acting Mayor Sergei Sobyanin was widely expected to win the election, with opposition candidate Alexei Navalny in second place, according to the latest polls.

Despite warnings by Sobyanin's opponents that ballot stuffing and other forms of fraud would take place, there were no reports of major violations, according to independent elections watchdog Golos. More than 42,000 police officers were deployed at 10,000 polling stations throughout the city to ensure security, and some 7,000 web cameras were set up at polling stations to prevent voting fraud.

Apart from Sobyanin and Navalny, the other four candidates were Communist Ivan Melnikov, Liberal Democrat Mikhail Degtyarev, Yabloko party chairman Sergei Mitrokhin, and A Just Russia's Nikolai Levichev.

The city allocated more than 433 million rubles ($13 million) for the mayoral election, with the bulk of the funds going to public information campaigns and polling stations.

Polling stations will remain open until 8 p.m.

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