TSKHINVAL, November 27 (Itar-Tass) — South Ossetia starts the presidential elections. All 84 polling stations opened in the republic on Sunday, two of which, located in the village of Verkny Ruk (closest to Russia) are set up for voting of citizens living in North Ossetia. Another two work outside South Ossetia – in Moscow and Sukhum – cities where the republic’s embassies operate.
The country’s top post is contested by head of the Ministry for Emergencies Anatoly Bibilov and former Education Minister Alla Dzhioyeva who collected the greatest number of voters in the first round.
When polling stations are closed at 20.00 local time, the results of ballot-counting will be dispatched to five territorial election commissions, situated in districts of the republic and in the republican capital Tskhinval. Voting results of citizens living abroad will be sent to a territorial election commission of the Dzausky district, closest to the Russian border. Information from territorial commissions will be submitted to the South Ossetian Central Election Commission in Tskhinval.
A total of 32,700 voters are registered in the republic, reported CEC chairwoman Bella Plieva. The CEC printed 42,000 ballot paper, taking into account citizens living abroad.
To participate in the voting, a voter is to present the passport of a South Ossetia citizen. A small stamp to avoid repeated voting will be put on the inside part of the passport’s cover. A similar stamp was already put in the first round on November 13, and the Central Election Commission ordered a postage stamp of a new design.
The peculiar feature of the South Ossetian elections is that observers from each candidate at a polling station put their signatures on each ballot paper. For this purpose, special lines are provided on the reverse side of a ballot paper. This retards the voting, but gives an additional guarantee of honest elections.
Buses to vote in Verkhny Ruk were prepared for South Ossetian voters from North Ossetia. An understanding was reached with Russian customs officers and borderguards on crossing the border under a simplified form.
Order and security at the elections are ensured by 1,200 police agents; all polling stations and surrounding territory are guarded. Passes on the border with Georgia were closed till November 28 for security reasons.
The South Ossetian CEC reported that progress in the voting is covered by 40 mass media reporters, and 50 international observers came to monitor the second round of elections.