TSKHINVAL, April 8 (Itar-Tass) – Almost 40,000 voters are expected to take part in the second round of a runoff presidential election in the Republic of South Ossetia Sunday.
The runoff is held to raise the international prestige of the young South Caucasian country.
The electorate will have to give preference either to the 60-year-old former chief of South Ossetia’s KGB Leonid Tibilov, who promises “to lead the republic out of the crisis, to unite the people, and to weed out lawlessness,” or to the 35-year-old presidential ombudsman for human rights David Sanakoyev, who believes that “dignity and decency can still be the locomotive forces in politics.”
Political associates of the two candidates will be present at all the polling stations. A ballot cast into the box will be deemed invalid unless it contains signatures of the observers representing both candidates.
Both Tibilov and Sanakoyev promise to continue the political course at South Ossetia‘s integration with Russia, to conduct a fierce struggle with corruption, and to pull the republic out of the economic crisis through the implementation of realistic programs.
Tibilov received 42.48% votes in the first round of the runoff election and Sanakoev got 24.58% votes, but local analysts do not rule out the possibility of an intrigue in the second round all the same.
The situation arises from the fact that Sanakoyev may win over the hearts of young voters and the proponents of candidate Dmitry Medoyev who dropped out of the election race after the first round of voting.
Medoyev himself did not issue any recommendations as to whom his supporters should vote for but one more former candidate, the leader of the South Ossetian Communist Party Stanislav Kochiyev, urged his voters to support Tibilov.
In the meantime, last November’s election showed the appeals of this kind do not exert any particular influence on the voters’ decision-making. Although the majority of the then nine candidates who dropped out of the race after the first round called on their voters to vote for Bibilov, it did not bring victory to him all the same.
Taimuraz Mamsurov, the interim head of South Ossetia and the Russian President’s special envoy to the republic, called Sunday’s election “a most crucial political event in the republic after the war /of August 2008/.”
Mamsurov said the high level of organization and high activity of voters in the first round of voting showed that political life in this young country is moving over to a new quality.
“South Ossetia has gone through a period of a certain political tumult, while the predictions of a dragged-out crisis seem to be overblown,” Mamsurov said.
The voting will be monitored by 40 observers from Russia representing both houses of the federal parliament, the Central Electoral Commission, and the Free Election foundation.
All the observers attended the first round of voting March 25 and they praised the level of transparency and democracy of the electoral process in South Ossetia.
Lawyers representing the candidates are also getting ready to register all the possible procedural violations and to send the reports on them to the CEC.