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SUKHUM, March 11 (Itar-Tass) — The Saturday parliamentary elections in Abkhazia were recognized valid.
The voting took place in a calm atmosphere and complied with the republic’s election laws, around 100 observers from nine countries, who monitored 174 polling stations in 35 electoral districts, came to such a conclusion.
The central election commission will announce the preliminary results later on Sunday, as it received not all polling protocols.
The one-chamber parliament was elected by the first-past-the-post system. Thirty-five seats were contested by 148 candidates, including 114 nominated by citizens and 34 by political parties: 11 from the pro-government United Abkhazia party, 11 from the opposition Forum of the People’s Unity of Abkhazia, six from the Communist Party, and six from the centrist Economic Development Party.
Local analysts predict that no candidate is likely to get over 50 percent of votes as required by the republic’s legislation in the first round and that the second round due on March 25 is inevitable.
On Saturday the head of the central election commission, Batal Tabagua, said the voter turnout exceeded 25 percent and the elections were recognized valid.
A member of the Russian Public Chamber, Sergei Markov, announced that the elections should give Abkhazia a legitimate parliament that is needed to legislatively resolve the problems accumulated in the republic.
“A democratic society is developing in Abkhazia. The republic is the most democratic state in the Caucasus and can set the pattern for Georgia,” he said.