SUKHUM, March 12. /TASS/. The voter turnout at Sunday’s parliamentary elections in Abkhazia has neared 50%, a member of Abkhazia’s Central Election Commission said.
"As of 18:00 Moscow time, the voter turnout was 49.18% as 65,692 people had cast their votes," Elena Labakhua said, adding that voter turnout at all the 35 polling stations exceeded 25% necessary to recognize the elections valid.
According to Labakhua, the voter turnout exceeded 70% in two constituencies.
The term of the current parliament, or the National Assembly, expires in March. Elections are held in one-seat constituencies, with 137 candidates vying for 35 seats in the parliament. A winning candidate must score support from more than a half of voters. In case neither of the contenders manages to do that, a runoff polling will be organized in the constituency within two weeks. Taking part in that round are two candidates who win the biggest number of votes in the first round. A simple majority of votes is needed to win in the runoff poll.
Some 40 observers, including from Russia and South Ossetia, are monitoring the elections. Preliminary results will be announced on Monday, March 13. Official results are to be made public within seven days after the voting.