NOVO-OGARYOVO, July 5 (RIA Novosti) - The leader of Russia’s North Caucasus Republic of Ingushetia, Yunus-Bek Yevkurov, stepped down on Thursday in order to seek reelection to the post this fall.
Yevkurov, whose term was due to expire in October, requested Russian President Vladimir Putin to approve his early resignation at a meeting in Novo-Ogaryovo outside Moscow. Putin supported the move and appointed him the republic’s acting head.
Ingushetia is among Russian regions that waived direct gubernatorial elections, re-introduced last year, and opted in favor of a parliamentary vote instead. Deputy Central Election Committee chief Leonid Ivlev said that the republic’s parliament may gather on September 8 to choose a governor from a list of three candidates approved by the president.
The chairman of Ingushetia’s legislature, Mukharbek Didigov, has already pledged support to Yevkurov.
Yevkurov, who has headed Ingushetia since October 2008, is not the first regional leader to resign early in a bid to seek reelection. Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin, appointed in 2010 by then-President Dmitry Medvedev, announced his resignation in early June, paving the way for the Russian capital’s first popular vote for the position in a decade.
Sobyanin’s term was due to end in 2015, and critics believe that the September 8 election date - right after the summer holidays - would give the incumbent an unfair advantage since other candidates would have very little time to campaign.