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Multiple-Candidate Soviet Elections Produce Dozens of Ties

June 25, 1987

MOSCOW (AP) _ The Soviet Union’s first test of multiple-candidate elections produced numerous ties, and runoffs will have to be held, according to media reports today.

The Communist Party daily Pravda and the official news agency Tass said that according to results from Sunday’s elections for local governing councils, runoffs will have to be held in 59 constituencies because of the ties.

It was not clear how many districts hosted multiple-candidate elections. The government newspaper Izvestia has said that in ″several thousand″ of the country’s 52,000 districts, voters were given a choice.

Even though there was more than one candidate on some ballots, the Communist Party still maintained control of the contenders. The nomination procedure was controlled by the party, the only political organization in the country, and most of the candidates running for local government positions were either party members or people whose political activity was approved by the party.

Most of the multiple-candidate contests presented voters with a list of candidates slightly larger than the number of seats. Even the losers earn a place in the political process. Those who garner the least votes ″will remain in the reserve,″ taking part in the work of the local councils and voting on some advisory matters, Tass said.

During a party Central Committee plenum in January, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev called for multiple-candidate elections for some government posts, such as the local Soviet positions up for election Sunday.

The multiple-candidate races were referred to as experimental but there was no word what criteria would be used to decide if the procedure was a success.

The balloting in the 15 Soviet republics was to elect 2.3 million deputies to 52,000 district, city and regional governing councils.

Tass said 98,081,097 voters, or 99.01 percent of those eligible, cast ballots in the Russian republic, the Soviet Union’s largest. Voter turnout was lowest, according to a Tass breakdown, in the Baltic republic of Estonia, where the figure was 97.58 percent.

Pravda said the runoff elections will be held in at least six Soviet republics.

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