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St. Petersburg Official Quits Over Election Violations

Pavel Karavashin / TASS

A top St. Petersburg election official has resigned after fielding criticism over “systemic” violations during local and national elections he oversaw over the past two years.

During the March 18 presidential election, President Vladimir Putin received 75 percent of the vote in St. Petersburg, which was singled out for the most voting violations of any locality, compared to nationwide results of almost 77 percent. St. Petersburg election commission head Viktor Pankevich is the second election official to resign since the presidential election.

Pankevich delivered a resignation letter, the Fontanka.ru news website reported Tuesday, and is expected to formally leave his post after returning from vacation on July 2.

The RBC business portal confirmed the news of Pankevich’s resignation, citing the press office of the Central Election Commission chairwoman on Wednesday.

Pankevich first came under fire from Pamfilova in 2016, when she issued a rare rebuke of the St. Petersburg commission’s “cynical use” of administrative resources in vote organization and ballot counting during that year’s parliamentary elections.

During the presidential election, the Central Election Commission said the St. Petersburg election office received 216 complaints from voters.

The central commission said it has not yet found a replacement for Pankevich.

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