Putin signed decree on Sobyanin's resignation and appointment as acting mayor
Alexander Oslon, President of the Public Opinion Foundation:
"I believe that there are two factors that can serve as a reasonable substantiation for the idea of early elections. First. The elected governor has a more solid and legitimate status in both the political field and among the population. And second. This year’s mayoral elections that will be held in a predictable situation – favourable for Sergei Sobyanin. Therefore, a reasonable decision here is to take an important step at the right moment."
Abzalov Dmitry, Leading expert of the Russian Center of Current Politics'Analytical Department
"It is absolutely clear that the mayoral elections that will be held on September 8th this year will be beneficial for and will seriously strengthen the positions of the current Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin. There are only a few irritating factors, and the economic situation is favourable for him. Which means that Sobyanin has a good chance, plus he is well known, and a very short period of preparations for the elections will have a very good impact on his image. The point is that his image has already been formed, while all the other candidates will have very little time to “gain points”. Hence, they have a poor chance to win. At the moment, among Sobyanin’s rivals are three main players besides the systemic players."
Political scientist Grigory Trofimchuk:
"I believe that this is an attempt to test the situation. Conditionally speaking, a stone has thrown into a bush in order to see who will contest against Sobyanin when he will announce his candidacy. Such candidates have already appeared in principle in Moscow. In view of this, a part of the task has been fulfilled. I think there is a need to display great self-possession because Moscow’s mayoral election is quite a serious event. On the other hand, Sergei Sobyanin should confirm the status that can be achieved only by winning the election. Consequently, the situation stably develops in a normal regime."
Mikhail Remizov, president of the National Strategy Institute:
"Early elections will undoubtedly increase Sobyanin’s chances so that he will be elected without any political problems. It’s very important that his opponents run out of time to prepare seriously, on the one hand, and they will have no time to launch a counter campaign to weaken Sobyanin’s position in the eyes of Muscovites, on the other hand. Consequently, under the current content of his opponents and the level of support, Sobyanin has good chances to be reelected."
Voice of Russia
The acting Mayor of the Russian capital, Sergei Sobyanin, may resign ahead of time. This information was disseminated by the Russian media on June 3. Up till now, it was not confirmed either by the Moscow mayor's office, or by the Kremlin, but experts believe that Sobyanin will, most likely, take such a step in order to hold early elections.
"This is quite a complex and difficult decision. He is deciding on going to the polls two years ahead of schedule," Director of the Center for Political Technologies Igor Bunin comments on the situation for the Voice of Russia.
"The logic of this solution is simple. Moscow is on the eve of large-scale reforms, comparable, perhaps, with Paris at the time of Napoleon III, when the city was under reconstruction. Sobyanin has proposed a new program to the city. The city should be different. To do this, the mayor needs the support of the Muscovites. He is an appointed mayor, and although, of course, the appointed mayor also has legitimacy, for the planned reforms it is necessary for the mayor to be elected," Bunin said.
Igor Bunin believes that already in the first round Sobyanin will be able to collect 55-60 % of the vote. And billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov, who is called Sobyanin’s major competitor, will not gather more than 10-12 % of the ballots. "Mayoral elections are not a political event. This is, first of all, managerial elections. As a manager, Sobyanin will beat Prokhorov," Igor Bunin beleives.
The mayor of Moscow was last elected in 2003. And since "the mayor is a very important figure for Moscow, in general, he is the centre of decision-making process”, Igor Bunin foresees a great response from Muscovites during the upcoming elections.
Moscow ex-Mayor Yuri Luzhkov said he would make up his mind about running for re-election by the end of the week. Experts say only Mikhail Prokhorov and Yuri Luzhkov stand a chance of winning the seat at the Moscow City Hall.
In an interview with a Russian news agency, the disgraced ex-mayor said he needed time to think it all over. “I like concrete definitions, concrete steps and decisions. I haven’t taken one yet,” Mr. Luzhkov told reporters. “I want to give it all a thought, considered I haven’t kept up with all trends. I think I’ll make a decision by the end of the week.”
The ousted Moscow mayor said the controversial opposition leader, Alexei Navalny, didn’t stand the slimmest chance of competing against incumbent Mayor Sergei Sobyanin.
Political parties are ready to submit their candidates for snap mayoral elections in Moscow in September (in case they are announced). Polls show the incumbent mayor Sergei Sobyanin has 54% of public support.
The Liberal-Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR) says it is unlikely that Mr. Sobyanin would go, though the party`s members add that they are ready for such a scenario. “If it happens, we will certainly submit a worthy candidate”, says Igor Lebedev, the head of the LDPR Supreme council, State Duma Vice Speaker.
‘A Just Russia’ party is skeptical about Sobyanin`s possible resignation. ‘I do not see any reasons for that. The authorities are wrong if they believe that the opposition won`t be ready for the mayoral elections. In case the elections are announced, they will quickly decide with their candidate, which won`t make the whole election process easier”, said Mikhail Yemelyanov, the party`s deputy chairman.
The Communist Party`s first deputy chairman, Ivan Melnikov: “Of course, we will take part in the elections if they are announced. Our faction is strong enough. We have come up with plenty of initiatives. Our party is popular in Moscow, and we are sure that we can compete with any candidate.”
Russia's “Green Alliance - People's Party” could submit Oleg Mitvol`s candidacy for the mayoral elections. “We do not rule out that Mr. Mitvol will run for mayor if the elections take place on a single election day of September 8”, a source in the party said.
Dmitry Demushkin, the leader of The Russiansunion, sees no point in submitting a candidate for the mayoral elections. “We have decided to hold an urgent meeting to discuss the issue but currently I see no prospects for a nationalist candidate to run for mayor”, Demushkin told Interfax. He believes that these elections are going to be quite tough and that they require a thorough planning.
Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin could resign from his post Tuesday and run for re-election as early as September. This will allow him to run in the mayoral election, which is likely to take place on Sept. 8, 2013, the Moscow Times newspaper reports.
Among other candidates are multibillionaire Mikhail Prokhorov, leader of the Civic Platform party, and opposition activist and blogger Alexei Navalny, who also confirmed his readiness to run for mayoral elections.
The primary elections had been set to take place in 2015. According to the Moscow Times newspaper, the resignation and calling an early election would give Sobyanin a significant advantage over his rivals, as it would give them only two months to prepare their election campaigns.
According to recent polls, conducted by the Moscow State University, Sobyanin has approval rating of 54 per cent while his rival Prokhorov has an approval rating of just 12 percent.
Members of Sobyanin's cabinet have not yet been officially informed about his possible departure. Sobyanin is expected to meet with President Vladimir Putin later on Tuesday.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said he had no information on the purported plans of Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin to step down.
“I have nothing to say. You’d better ask Sobyanin, since it would be his and only his decision to make,” Mr. Peskov told the Echo of Moscow radio station.
The president’s mouthpiece also refused to comment on the talks between President Putin and Mayor Sobyanin, which is allegedly set for tomorrow, saying he wasn’t in position to publicize Putin’s working meetings.
Peskov added the “president is in Yekaterinburg right now where he is to hold talks with EU delegates in about an hour.
According to some media reports, elections of a new Moscow mayor may take place on September 8, if Mayor Sobyanin chooses to step down, although there has been no official report to confirm he was contemplating this step.
Founder of the anti-corruption foundation and opposition activist Alexei Navalny intends to run for the Moscow mayor's office if pre-term elections are held.
"Our stance on the issue has never changed. If pre-term elections are held, Alexei will run as a candidate," Navalny's press secretary Anna Veduta said.
Yabloko liberal party leader Sergei Mitrokhin has not ruled out that he could run for the post of Moscow mayor if early elections of the city's head are announced.
Mitrokhin told Interfax that other candidates representing Yabloko had not been considered yet.
"This issue was earlier discussed by the regional council of the Yabloko party's Moscow branch, and the regional council adopted a tentative decision to nominate me as its candidate. The regional council is expected to convene for a session once again on Thursday to discuss this matter. I do not rule out that I will run in Moscow's mayoral elections," he said.
At its session, the regional council also plans to set a date for a conference during which it will officially nominate its candidate for Moscow mayor.
"As soon as a date of the early elections is announced, we will call this conference, and a decision will be made there," Mitrokhin said.
A source familiar with the situation told Interfax previously that elections of the Moscow mayor could be held earlier than planned, possibly on September 8, 2013.
But the Moscow city legislature is required to set a date no later than 90 days ahead of the elections.
The source suggested that Sobyanin could announce his resignation on Tuesday or Wednesday.
Voice of Russia, Interfax,