Pre-election South Ossetia facing unexpected opposition alliance
South Ossetia’s presidential election campaign has taken a new strange twist, as its ex-president and self-styled opposition leader Eduard Kokoity has urged his supporters to vote for candidate Anatoly Bibilov as they would have voted for himself had he been allowed to run.
It is strange because Kokoity, whose own presidential bid was rejected by the central electoral commission (over his alleged noncompliance with the residency requirement for candidates), and Bibilov, the parliament speaker, have until now espoused conflicting visions of South Ossetia’s future. Kokoity wants South Ossetia to continue to seek recognition as an independent state beyond Russia, while Bibilov would rather see it as part of Russia.
Kokoity called on his supporters to give their votes to Bibilov at a meeting in the League of Champions building, a traditional venue for his followers’ get-togethers, on the 30th of March.
While no official statements have been made yet, the unusual situation has caused quite a stir on Facebook.
Some of the opinions broadly shared on social media are:
“Leonid Tibilov [the current president] is now headed towards a defeat in the election”.
“Anatoly Bibilov will win in the very first round of the election.”
“I can’t understand how Bibolov and Kokoity who have always disagreed and even hated one another are now going to put up a joint front. Mean people, aren’t they?”
“If you support Kokoity and are now going to vote for Bibilov as you’ve been told to, then you are nothing more than a herd of sheep.”
“Kokoity is trying to drag Bibilov to where he is now himself – political oblivion! I’m sure this has come as a shocking surprise to Bibilov himself.”
“I want to put a question to Kokoity’s supporters. It was only yesterday that you assured everyone that Tibilov, Bibilov and Gagloyev were all puppets in [deputy chairman of the Russian government] Surkov’s hands. What has changed now?”
South Ossetia is electing a new president and holding a name change referendum on 9 April 2017.
Three candidates are competing for the post: current president Leonid Tibilov, current speaker Anatoly Bibilov and KGB officer Alan Gagloyev
The opinions expressed in the article convey the author’s terminology and views and do not necessarily reflect the position of the editorial staff