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Soviets Vote in Second-Round Election

May 14, 1989

MOSCOW (AP) _ Voters Sunday chose from among writers, a weightlifter, a popular investigator, and many others across the political spectrum in a second-round election to fill the remaining 198 seats in a new parliament.

More than 1,200 candidates, an average of six per district, were vying for seats in the Congress of People’s Deputies left open after March 26 elections. The seats being contested were those in which no candidate received a majority of the vote.

In March, voters rejected dozens of top government and party leaders in Moscow, Kiev and Leningrad. Most officials embarrassed on March 26 did not run again.

On Sunday, one district in Leningrad fielded 34 candidates. Another in Kiev had 33. In many districts, another run-off election was likely before a winner was decided.

Results were expected to trickle in Monday or Tuesday.

Candidates included such figures as Vitaly Korotich, the editor of Ogonyok magazine, in the Ukrainian city of Kharkov; prosecutor Nikolai Ivanov, an anti-corruption crusader in Leningrad; Olympic weightlifting champion Yuri Vlasov, and playwright Mikhail Shatrov, in Moscow; commentator Alexander Bovin, and Anatoly Ivanov, editor of the ultra-conservative monthly Molodaya Gvardiya, in Zagorsk.

The new 2,250-member parliament was created by Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev in a reform that he said will strengthen the legislature. It will choose the president and the new ruling Supreme Soviet, but less than two weeks from the May 25 first meeting, many of its functions and procedures have yet to be decided.

In Moscow’s Kunsovsky district, a retired army colonel said he and many other veterans voted for Afghan war hero Alexander Rudskoy. ″We fought during the last war and understand the man well,″ said the colonel, who refused to identify himself.

In Leningrad, prosecutor Ivanov, who led a broad anti-corruption probe, was a favorite among 33 candidates seeking a seat.

In Kiev, another 33 candidates were seeking the seat that local Communist Party leader Konstantin Masyk lost March 26. Among them was theater director Les Taniuk, a leader of the People’s Front group that seeks greater independence for the Baltic republics.

In the Baltic republics there were eight races. One candidate in the Latvian capital of Riga was prosecutor Janis Djenitis, a party hardliner who topped the list of most unpopular Latvians in a poll conducted last year by a youth newspaper. Another was political reformer Mavrick Wulfson.

The first vote on March 26 hurt the Communist Party’s prestige. Gorbachev said it showed Soviets were enthusiastic about reforms but frustrated that local leaders were lagging behind.

Of the 198 seats up in Sunday’s election, 195 were in districts were voters rejected the choices given them in March. In three districts in Armenia, repeat elections were held because fewer than half of the voters participated the first time.

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