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Moscow polls open in mayoral vote

ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: Polls opened in the Russian capital at 0400 GMT on Sunday (September 8) as Moscow held its first direct mayoral elections in a decade. The vote, seen as a barometer of the mood of protest in Moscow, is expected to show whether political opposition to the government of President Vladimir Putin is capable of mounting an electoral challenge. Six candidates are fighting for the right to control Russia's biggest and wealthiest city, including charismatic Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, 37. Although most mayors in Russia are elected, the mayors of Moscow and Russia's second city St. Petersburg share the same status as governors, who were appointed by the Kremlin until political reforms passed in 2012 reinstated direct elections. Current mayor Sergei Sobyanin, 55, appointed by the Kremlin in 2010, has refused to take part in election debates with his rivals, and said he will not hold any election rallies. He has inste

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