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General Alkhanov won roughly 73 per cent of Sunday's vote

Alu Alkhanov, Moscow's choice for the job, won roughly 73 per cent of Sunday's vote, which critics say was stage-managed by the Kremlin. His only serious competitor was disqualified from the election on a technicality. Speaking at a news conference Monday in Grozny, the Russian republic's top police officer said he's willing to start talks with rebel leaders. A former head of the Chechen Interior Ministry, Alkhanov also vowed to fight corruption in the region. "We are one team and together we will solve all pressing problems," Alkhanov was quoted as saying by Russia's Itar-Tass news agency. "At the end of will see that a lot is fresh, a lot is new." "We need a new ideology, which will draw a firm line against...extremism and put people on a peaceful, democratic path." However, the elections have drawn international criticism. U.S. State Department spokesperson Richard Boucher said Monday that the election was seriously flawed and failed to meet international standards. The International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights said the "minimum international standards for holding free and fair elections do not exist in Chechnya", informs CBC News. According to NYTimes, Alu Alkhanov, the senior law enforcement officer in Chechnya and a Kremlin loyalist, today was declared the winner of the republic's special presidential election, as had been assured since he declared his candidacy in June. According to unofficial tallies released by the republic's election commission, General Alkhanov received 73.48 percent of Sunday's vote, overwhelming six challengers in a manner reminiscent of the election of his predecessor, Akhmad Kadyrov, who was assassinated in May. The results surprised no one. The election of Mr. Kadyrov last year has been derided by international analysts as a farce, and dozens of Chechen residents, in interviews before the election, said nothing would change. General Alkhanov had the Kremlin's backing, they said, which meant he would be imposed. General Alkhanov's closest competitor, Movsur Khamidov, received less than 9 percent of the vote. Mr. Khamidov, with a career in the F.S.B., one of the agencies that emerged from the K.G.B., was regarded by some analysts as Moscow's back-up candidate in case General Alkhanov was killed before election day. Now that General Alkhanov has won, the more difficult task is at hand: leading the people the government says have elected him. The republic of Chechnya's election won by Russian-backed presidential candidate Alu Alkhanov had ``serious flaws,'' the Bush administration said. The Chechen election yesterday ``did not meet international standards for a democratic election,'' U.S. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said in Washington. Boucher cited the disqualification of ``a leading candidate on a mere technicality.'' The New York Times reported that a candidate considered Alkhanov's main challenger, Malik Saidullayev, was disqualified by the election commission on grounds his application contained errors, including listing his birthplace as ``Chechnya,'' not ``Chechen-Ingush Republic,'' as it was known when he was born. Alkhanov, supported by Russian President Vladimir Putin, won 73.9 percent of the vote to replace Akhmad Kadyrov, who was assassinated in May, the Central Electoral Commission said on its Web site. The commission said it counted almost 453,000 votes. Since 1994, Russian soldiers have been fighting Chechen rebels seeking to establish a separate Islamic state, publishes Bloomberg.

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