TBILISI, DFWatch – Georgia’s breakaway region South Ossetia is preparing for another presidential election. The poll on March 25 will be the region’s second attempt, after the first one failed and led to a still unresolved protest campaign by the winner to claim victory.
A few days ago, Central Election Commission chair Bella Pliyeva said that that all polling stations in the de facto republic are ready for the voting to start. The voter lists have also been prepared, and at present they are sending out invitations to the voters to participate.
Four candidates will compete for the top post: Leonid Tibilov, former chairman of the State Security Committee; David Sanakoev, Commissioner for Human Rights; Dmitry Medoyev, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Russia and Stanislav Kochiyev, Communist Party leader.
All of them are believed to be regarded as palatable by the Kremlin, but Dmitry Medoyev, who has been working and living in Russia for years, seems to be the Kremlin’s favorite.
The two who competed in South Ossetia’s failed November 2011 attempt at holding presidential elections, are not taking part. Kremlin favorite Anatoly Bibilov withdrew his candidacy saying that this way he will give the opportunity to other candidates and freedom of choice to people to conduct free and fair elections.
The other candidate in November, opposition leader Alla Dzhioyeva, got majority of votes in the second round, but the de facto Supreme Court annulled the results after receiving a complaint about violations and declared the election failed. Instead, a new rescheduled election was announced for March 25.
Dzhioyeva and her supporters did not accept the Court’s ruling, and after two rounds of protests her movement is still trying to claim November victory; and hence are boycotting the March 25 election.
It has been a tense four months in the region, with several attempts at negotiating between the sides. As part of deal, former president Eduard Kokoity resigned, but authorities failed to fulfill other parts of the compromise because South Ossetia’s elected assembly blocked it.
Dzhioyeva planned to hold her inauguration on February 10, but the evening before, her office was attacked, she was beaten, according to her supporters, but officials deny this, and admitted to hospital with injuries and heart attack.
She says she will continue fighting for her rights and for people who support her. She agreed to honor the March 25 election and participate, as part of the compromise, but when the compromise deal fell apart, she withdrew her candidacy.(Cover photo shows Alla Dzhioyeva, the apparent winner in the failed November 2011 election.)