Kremlin chief Mikhail Gorbachev has said reformers won Sunday's elections to the Soviet parliament and the defeat of so many leading Communist Party candidates is no cause for alarm.
Gorbachev told media executives the people seemed to have supported the candidates who were the strongest backers of radical reform, an editor said Thursday.The Soviet leader's reaction to the outcome of the first contested elections in 70 years came at an editors' conference Wednesday called to discuss the poll.
"He said the results should be no cause for alarm," said the editor, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
"He said that in real democracy there are always winning and losing candidates - that is the first lesson of democracy," the editor said.
Many senior Communist Party officials lost for the first time in Sunday's vote, including the party bosses or mayors in Moscow, Kiev and Leningrad.
The official Tass news agency reported that Gorbachev had met the media executives to talk about Sunday's elections to the Congress of People's Deputies and the plenary session of the Communist Party Central Committee held earlier this month.
But it gave no details of his remarks, promising they would be published later.
It said Kremlin ideology chief Vadim Medvedev, agriculture supremo Yegor Ligachev and party personnel commission chief Georgy Razumovsky attended the meeting - indicating their areas of expertise were under discussion.
Final election results for the entire country have not been published but a high-ranking member of the Central Committee staff said that 34 regional party secretaries had lost.