South Ossetia prepares for presidential elections
Presidential elections in South Ossetia
The former president of South Ossetia, Eduard Kokoity, is returning to politics again – he is nominated as a presidential candidate for the upcoming elections. Despite the fact that, according to the law, he cannot be registered as a candidate – due to the fact that he has not lived in his homeland for many years. Presidential elections in South Ossetia will be held on 10 April. The election campaign is already distinguished by a record number of applicants – the number of those wishing to run for office has already exceeded two dozen.
The initiative group to nominate ex-president (2001-20011) Eduard Kokoity as a candidate for the presidency of South Ossetia held a meeting on February 18.
It took place in the courtyard of the Champions League cafe in Tskhinvali, as the initiative group for the nomination of Eduard Kokoity was denied a conference room at the Iryston Hotel, where the event was originally supposed to take place.
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His supporters, including representatives of the initiative group, deputies Amiran Dyakonov, Robert Ostaev, Dzambolat Medoev and others, as well as another presidential candidate, deputy speaker of parliament Alexander Pliev all attended the meeting.
“I am very grateful to you for offering me to run for president. This is democracy and the will of the people who lived and will live here in South Ossetia. Among you are my sons, my daughter-in-law, my family are here, my closest friends, the dearest people. You have remained my big family for many years”, Kokoity said.
However, the nomination of Kokoity’s candidacy violates the law because he does not meet the residency requirement – Kokoity has been living outside South Ossetia for many years – in Moscow. Therefore, if Kokoity submits documents for registration with the CEC, he will be denied.
This is the second attempt by Kokoity, who has retired from public politics, to compete for the presidency after his resignation as a result of the internal political crisis in 2011.
In 2017, he also decided to run for president, but the CEC refused to register him. Kokoity appealed to the court, which did not satisfy his claim.
The day before, Kokoity addressed the campaigners and voters, as well as the CEC and the Supreme Court, pointing out the inadmissibility of holding elections “without a choice”.
The main and irreconcilable opponent of the ex-president, the head coach of the Russian freestyle wrestling team, Dzambolat Tedeev, accused Kokoity of double standards, saying that everyone should be equal before the law. He reminded the former president of how, in 2011, Kokoity prevented Tedeev from participating in the presidential elections, using precisely the mechanisms of the residency qualification against the oppositionist.
The current arrival of Kokoity from Moscow to Tskhinval may aggravate the pre-election situation in the republic.
Russia supports Bibilov
Other contenders for the presidency of South Ossetia include representatives of various professions, from artists to law enforcement officers and businessmen.
All parliamentary parties put forward their candidates: United Ossetia nominated the incumbent Anatoly Bibilov, the Unity of the People party – Vladimir Kelekhsaev, the People’s Party – Alexander Pliev, the Communist Party – Taimuraz Tadtaev.
The incumbent president Anatoly Bibilov is supported by the first president of the republic, Ludwig Chibirov.
On February 8, a congress of the United Ossetia party was held in Tskhinvali, nominating Bibilov as a candidate. The event was attended by influential Russian politicians and State Duma deputies, as well as the head of the Donetsk People’s Republic. A delegation of North Ossetia, headed by the head of the republic, Sergei Menyailo, also left for Tskhinval.
The Russian delegation was headed by Andrey Turchak, First Deputy Chairman of the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation, Secretary of the General Council of the United Russia Party. The visit of guests from Moscow demonstrated the support of the Russian side for the candidacy of the incumbent president.
On the eve of Bibilov’s birthday, he had a telephone conversation with the President of Russia, during which Vladimir Putin congratulated him and discussed the current socio-political and socio-economic situation.
It is clear that the current head of South Ossetia enjoys the trust and favor of Moscow. Anatoly Bibilov himself, assessing his pre-election positions, said: “My chances of winning depend on the assessment of my activities by the people of South Ossetia”.
As for the parliamentary opposition, which has no allies among the Russian parliamentary parties, it predictably builds its pre-election activity on harsh criticism of Bibilov.
There are still accusations of betraying national interests and allegedly “surrendering the territory of Georgia”.
It is also interesting that the parliamentary opposition has not yet presented a single candidate and looks fragmented and disunited.
Bibilov’s two main opponents have also been nominated as candidates – deputy David Sanakoev, who was expelled from the Nykhas party last year, and the chairman of this party, Alan Gagloev.
But it is interesting that for some reason Gagloev’s candidacy was put forward not by the Nykhas party, but by an initiative group.
The candidacy of David Sanakoev was also put forward by an initiative group of supporters, which indicates some intra-party disagreements and competition.
It is expected that the active phase of the campaign will begin after the registration of candidates by the Central Election Commission, just then pre-election alliances and unions will be concluded.
It is believed that if the CEC refuses to register one or another opposition figure, then those left behind will unite around a more successful applicant.
The goal of the parliamentary opposition is to prevent the second round of elections and to achieve the defeat of the incumbent president. However, the chances of Alan Gagloev and David Sanakoev are going down against the background of stronger and more resourceful candidates.
For the first time, an authoritative ex-employee of the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of South Ossetia, Vladimir Pukhaev, is participating in the presidential elections, around whom veterans of military operations and military personnel are consolidated.
The incumbent head of the Defense Ministry, Ibragim Gasseev, who has both administrative and financial resources, also decided to compete for the presidency. According to unofficial information, ex-president Eduard Kokoity is behind him, whose team included Gasseev before.
There is no talk of gender balance during this election campaign. The only contender for the presidency, philologist and public figure Nelli Gogicheva, was unable to gather the necessary number of supporters to hold a meeting of the initiative group, and was left out of the election campaign.
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