Opposition presidential candidate Alan Gagloev leads in South Ossetian elections
Presidential elections in South Ossetia
In South Ossetia, opposition candidate Alan Gagloev is ahead of incumbent Anatoly Bibilov in the presidential election, but the fate of the election will be decided by the second round. The incumbent president, who has declared reunification with Russia his main goal, said that “two ideologies” would meet in the second round.
The second round of presidential elections will be held on 24 April.
According to the CEC, after processing 95% of the protocols, the chairman of the opposition Nykhas parliamentary party, Alan Gagloev, won 36.9% of the vote. Thus, he beat Bibilov by 3.4%, or a thousand votes.
According to these data, 10,705 voters voted for Gagloev, and 9,706 people voted for Anatoly Bibilov.
Alan Gagloev, 41, became the leader of the opposition Nykhas party in 2020. In politics, a hitherto unknown KGB officer of South Ossetia appeared in 2017 during the presidential election campaign. Then he won 11 percent of the vote.
As for the other three opposition candidates, they completed their participation in the elections with the following results: MP Garry Muldarov – 8.9%, Deputy Speaker of the Parliament Alexander Pliev – 11.9%, ex-MP Dmitry Tasoev – 2.8%. 0.6% of voters voted against all.
The number of voters who took part in the elections is 28,976 people.
Even before the end of voting in the elections, Gagloev’s supporters gathered in the CEC building in the center of Tskhinval, waiting for the results to be announced.
In the same place, Alan Gagloev himself declared his leading position during the voting. He was joined by the other three opposition candidates and announced their support for his candidacy in the second round. Thus, a single opposition bloc was formed, the formation of which the supporters of the opposition were still waiting for the elections.
The fact that the second round of presidential elections will be held in the republic was announced by Bibilov himself even before the announcement of preliminary data.
The incumbent president thanked all the residents of South Ossetia for the activity shown in the elections, which testifies “to the citizens’ trust in the democratic procedure – in the elections.” Bibilov addressed the people of South Ossetia with the words that “the struggle is not over”.
“I want to say to my supporters: we need to mobilize and fight to the end. We are together, we are going forward, and we are going to victory. To victory for the sake of the well-being of people, victory for the sake of holding a referendum on joining the Russian Federation”, Bibilov addressed supporters.
In his address, he emphasized the difference in political views between him and his main opponent:
“As a presidential candidate, I am pleased to reach the second round with Alan Eduardovich Gagloity. Because two ideologies enter the second round. I think you all understand what ideologies we are talking about. And now the choice is up for the people to make”.
Unlike Anatoly Bibilov, Alan Gagloev did not comment on the preliminary results of the first round.
What is the reason for this result?
Experts explain Bibilov’s words about “two ideologies” – this refers to the political program of the ruling United Ossetia party and Anatoly Bibilov, the main point of which is the entry of South Ossetia into Russia.
Shortly before the elections, Bibilov proposed to hold a referendum on this issue. On April 8, an extended meeting of the initiative group for holding a referendum, which is planned for May-June, took place.
However, Alan Gagloev and part of the opposition are skeptical about this idea, as they believe that it is unprofitable for Russia to accept South Ossetia, so the republic not ask to join it, but build an independent state instead.
Political scientist, editor-in-chief of the Svobodny Vzglyad newspaper Badri Gazzati believes that since Bibilov has now conceded to Gagloev, despite the popular idea of uniting Ossetians within Russia, if he loses in the second round, these prospects will be “delayed or canceled”.
“But there is another factor – Gagloev himself is campaigning on a protest vote, he did not present serious political and economic programs, in fact, how this independent state should be further built and developed in the future.
He radically perceives the idea of unification with Russia, but it is not clear from whom South Ossetia is independent, if the budget is formed from Russia, financial, social and military assistance comes from Russia, and more than 99% of the citizens of the Republic of South Ossetia are Russian citizens”, says the political scientist .
He believes that although the independence of South Ossetia is recognized by Russia, it cannot exist and fully function without Russia, therefore the accession of South Ossetia to Russia will actually consolidate de jure the status that has existed de facto since 2008. And therefore “it is not clear from whom the oppositionists want to be independent.”
According to the political scientist, “the reason for Bibilov’s defeat is the failure of his team and his personal mistakes”. And the opponents “used these mistakes and scandals, and at the same time they themselves did not present anything to the people and the voters, they do not have any viable programs for the development of South Ossetia”, which even threatens a “civil strife” in case of their coming to power.
The author of the opposition telegram channel Notes of an Observer believes that Gagloev was able to unite around him citizens dissatisfied with the authorities:
“Alan Gagloev, whether he likes it or not, has become both a symbol of the conscience of the Ossetian people and its collective manifestation. The voters believed in him and, most importantly, the opposition finally rallied around one candidate. Now that the forthcoming second round of elections is known, which will ensure the final fall of the current regime, Alan should not afford weakness or naivety to start negotiations either with Anatoly Bibilov himself or with his Moscow handlers.
As for the consolidation of the opposition, it is not yet known whether the defeated opposition candidates will be followed by their supporters and whether they will support Gagloev’s candidacy if Muldarov, Pliev and Tasoev call on their supporters to vote for Gagloev.
At the same time, one way or another, the support of these three oppositionists may affect the outcome of the April 24 vote.
Earlier, ex-Minister of Defense Ibragim Gasseev, who was not allowed to participate in the elections, supported Alexander Pliev’s candidacy. Probably, his financial resources will be redirected from the support of the defeated Pliev to Gagloev.
At the same time, it is not yet known whose side the influential native of the republic, the deputy of the parliament of North Ossetia, the head coach of the Russian freestyle wrestling team Dzambolat Tedeev will take.
As you know, he publicly supported the initiative for the entry of South Ossetia into Russia. Also, the ex-president of South Ossetia, Eduard Kokoity, who advocated the creation of a union state with Russia and Belarus and the preservation of the independent status of South Ossetia, did not express his clear position.
A few days before the elections, he was unexpectedly appointed by Bibilov as the Special Representative of the South Ossetian President for Donbass and interaction with Ossetian military personnel and volunteers. Kokoity also became a member of the initiative group for holding a referendum on the entry of South Ossetia into Russia.
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