State Duma by-election set for December 4

MOSCOW, September 2 (RIA Novosti) - The date of two Moscow by-elections to the lower chamber of the Russian parliament has been set for December 4, the chairman of the Central Election Committee (CEC) said Friday.

Alexander Veshnyakov said a State Duma seat in the University electoral district had become vacant after Mikhail Zadornov left parliament for the banking world. This week, jailed former Yukos chief executive Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who was given a nine-year prison term in May, announced he would run for the seat. He has the constitutional right to do so while his conviction has not officially come into force, and that will not happen until his appeal is heard.

The second by-election will be in the Preobrazhensky electoral district to find a replacement for Alexander Zhukov after his promotion to deputy prime minister. One attempt at the vote was held on December 5, 2004, but the results were declared null and void due to a low turnout.

"If this by-election fails again, we will not set up another round until the end of the current State Duma term," Veshnyakov.

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