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Tskhinvali Court Rejects Runoff Date

The top court in Georgia’s Russian-occupied Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia yesterday ruled that conducting “presidential runoffs” on Thursday, April 28, goes against law.

The region’s election administration is now instructed to set a new date for the second round of polls, in which incumbent leader Anatoly Bibilov will face frontrunner Alan Gagloev, opposition Nykhas party leader.

“We could have at least held a session today and set the date, but not knowing the reason why the court cancelled our decision, we cannot set a new date,” the head of election administration, Emilia Gagieva was quoted as saying by RES news agency.

Gagieva said the election commission will find a new date as soon as the court document with the justification for cancelling their decision is received in full.

She also complained that more than one million Russian rubles (USD 13 thousand) were spent to print ballots for April 28. ‘It’s extremely important not to make a mistake with the new date, because new ballots will have to be ordered.”

The runoff date was called into question by three residents of Russia’s North Ossetia – Radislav Utarov, Azamat Tanduev, and Georgi Gagkuev – who rejected Thursday as the election date.

The first round of S. Ossetian leadership race was held on April 10. The runoffs were originally slated midweek as April 24 weekend coincided with Orthodox Easter, while the following Sunday, May 1st marks International Workers’ Day, another holiday.

The polls in Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia have been condemned as illegitimate by Tbilisi, the EU and the U.S., among others.

Russia, Syria, Nicaragua, Venezuela and Nauru are the only countries that recognize the region’s independence from Tbilisi.


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