Oct 12, 2004

Sergei Bagapsh wins Abkhaz election

Opposition candidate Sergei Bagapsh has been declared the winner in the first contested presidential elections in the self-declared republic of Abkhazia
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Eleven out of 15 electoral commission members voted to pronounce Mr Bagapsh the victor with 50.08% of the vote.

The decision comes more than a week after the poll to find a successor to current leader Vladislav Ardzinba.

The province's independence, which was declared a decade ago, is not recognised internationally.

Georgia's president has dismissed the vote as illegitimate.

The 3 October election ended in confusion with allegations of voting violations and officials repeatedly delaying results.

After announcing the results, electoral commission head Sergei Smyr told the Itar-Tass news agency that he had resigned in protest at alleged pressure from Mr Bagapsh's supporters.

Candidate and former prime minister Raul Khadzhimba, who was running with Mr Ardzinba's backing, told Itar-Tass that he would appeal against the electoral commission's decision.

A court is due to decide later this week on a complaint from Mr Khadzhimba about a repeat vote in the Gali region. (BBC)


Georgia: Candidate Says Abkhazia Being Driven To 'Civil War' (ISN)
Georgia beefing up troops near S. Ossetia, Abkhazia (Interfax)
Russian Foreign Minister Urges Abkhaz Resolution (RFE)
Mironov: Russia will build Abkhazia relations on int'l law (Interfax)
Georgia calls Abkhazia presidential election illegal (Interfax)