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Alla Dzhioyeva
Dzhioyeva (r.) wants South Ossetian independenceImage: picture-alliance/dpa

Disputed election

November 30, 2011

Disputed presidential elections in the breakaway region of South Ossetia have descended into chaos after the supreme court ordered the results annulled. Russia has said it will not intervene in the political crisis.


Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets in Georgia's breakaway region of South Ossetia on Wednesday to protest against the court-ordered annulment of presidential elections.

Security forces fired shots to warn thousands of protesters against storming the election commission's offices. South Ossetia's supreme court threw out the results of the runoff presidential election, which showed former education minister Alla Dzhioyeva leading the polls with 56.7 percent of the vote. New polls have been scheduled for March 25.

The election results were thrown out after Dzhioyeva's opponent, Anatoly Bibilov, accused her of committing vote fraud. But Dzhioyeva's supporters have said the supreme court annulled the polls because she is not the candidate favored by Moscow.

South Ossetia declared its independence after Russia intervened in a war with the Caucasian state of Georgia in 2008. Only Russia and a handful of other countries recognize South Ossetia as a sovereign nation. South Ossetia has a population of about 30,000 and is economically and militarily dependent on Moscow.

Protesters in South Ossetia
Protesters rallied in support of DzhioyevaImage: picture-alliance/dpa

Political crisis

Although both candidates are sympathetic to Moscow, Bibilov wants South Ossetia to join the Russian Federation and re-unite with the province of North Ossetia. Dzhioyeva wants South Ossetia to be an independent state.

Dzhioyeva has declared herself the rightful winner of the elections, announcing she would form an executive advisory board. She appealed to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to help restore order, warning in a letter that the country was on the brink of "civil war."

"After many years of lawlessness and arbitrary rule in our country, people supported the opposition candidate and together with her were able to win," Dzhioyeva said in her letter.

Russia, however, has said it was following the situation closely, but would not intervene in the political crisis.

"We are interested that a peaceful, stable situation is maintained in the young republic and that political processes develop exclusively in a legal framework," Russia's Foreign Ministry said in a statement on its website.

Author: Spencer Kimball (Reuters, AFP)
Editor: Michael Lawton

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