Putin ally set to win tight Moscow mayor election: exit poll

Incumbent Moscow mayor Sergei Sobyanin is set to win elections in the Russian capital Sunday despite an unexpectedly strong performance by protest leader Alexei Navalny, an exit poll said.

Sobyanin, a close ally of President Vladimir Putin, is due to retain the post of mayor in the first round with 52.5 percent of the vote while Navalny is due to get 29.1 percent, the Kremlin-connected FOM polling group said.

Navalny's campaign immediately contested the findings, saying its polls showed Sobyanin had won only 46 percent, meaning their candidate had forced a second round with 35.6 percent of the vote.