Voters gave populist reformer Boris N. Yeltsin a resounding victory in his campaign against top-level privilege and economic failures that have empied Soviet store shelves, according to election results announced Monday.
Yeltsin won 89.4 percent of the vote in his race to represent the city he once ran as Communist Party chief, said Igor N. Orlov, chairman of Moscow's election commission.Yeltsin's opponent in Sunday's balloting for a new national legislature, the more traditional party loyalist Yevgeny Brakov, received 6.9 percent of the vote, Orlov told reporters.
The 58-year-old Yeltsin had become the most visible symbol of opposition to the party establishment in Sunday's elections - the first time Soviet voters had a choice of candidates in seven decades.
Yeltsin's race for the sole at-large Moscow seat typified the more democratic politics that President Mikhail S. Gorbachev has brought to the Soviet Union.
"Boris Yeltsin . . . was named a People's Deputy of the USSR from Moscow's city national territorial district No. 1," the official Tass news agency said.
Hundreds of workers applauded Yeltsin Monday when he spoke the State Construction Committee, where he is first deputy chairman.
"It's hard to say what my spirit is more full of, joy or concern about what I realistically can do to help Muscovites," Yeltsin said.
Yeltsin pledged to quit his job in the Construction Committee and be a full-time legislator in the new 2,250-seat Congress of People's Deputies. Voters elected 1,500 deputies Sunday, and the rest are being chosen separately by members of officially-sanctioned organizations.
Yeltsin was fired as Moscow party boss in November 1987 after criticizing the party's style of leadership and warning that a Stalin-like cult of personality could form around Gorbachev. He lost his position as a candidate member of the ruling Politburo and was transferred to the State Construction Committee.
He campaigned against the special supplies of food and consumer goods, cars and drivers and other services that Moscow government and party officials receive, and criticized what he said were economic reform efforts that did not go far enough.
The new congress will meet once a year to choose the country's president and elect about 400 of its own members to a new full-time legislature, the Supreme Soviet.
Asked if he had received congratulations from Gorbachev, Yeltsin said, "that's unlikely, but I would be very happy and thank him from the bottom of my heart."
He reiterated that he does not see himself as a political opponent of the Soviet leader.
In 74 percent of Sunday's races, voters had a choice between two or more candidates, the Central Election Commission said. However, 82 percent of the candidates were Communist Party members, the weekly Moscow News reported, guaranteeing the Communists will dominate the new assembly.
Still, this was the first time since the Soviet Union's earliest days that the people were afforded a choice.
The Kremlin faced strong challenges from independent candidates in republics like Lithuania where nationalist sentiments are strong.
In the Baltic republic, the grassroots Sajudis or Lithuanian Restructuring Movement said unofficial returns showed its candidates finished strongly against those endorsed by the Communist Party.
Gorbachev, who came to power in 1985, is assured of a seat in the new congress, and the elections are unlikely to produce any major upheaval in the power structure.