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Turnout at parliamentary elections in Abkhazia exceeds 50%

March 13, 3:36 UTC+3 SUKHUM
CEC declares elections valid already in the afternoon
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SUKHUM, March 12. /TASS/. Turnout at the current parliamentary elections in Abkhazia has exceeded 50% (in all 35 districts of the republic) which is by 5 percentage points more than the turnout at the previous elections in 2012.

Abkhazia’s Central Election Commission (CEC) promised to announce the final results on the turnout after the count of votes.

Previous elections to the People's Assembly were held in March 2012. The final voter turnout was 44.50%, and only in 13 of the 35 constituencies candidates received more than 50% of the votes which is required for being elected to the country’s parliament. Later 20 constituencies held a second vote and one district held repeat election.

CEC declares elections valid already in the afternoon

Two hours before the closure of the polling stations almost all constituencies had the turnout which is required for declaring the elections valid. Several districts showed an increased activity of voters. By the evening of March 12, more than 70% of voters voted in two districts, in seven have the turnout of more than 60%. In eight districts more than 50% voted and in 16 districts turnout exceeded 40%.

CEC declared the elections to the parliament of Abkhazia valid already by 3:00 p.m. Moscow time, when the turnout had already exceeded 38%. According to the law, elections in the republic are considered valid if more than 25% of voters, who were included in the lists, took part in the vote.

Only one violation registered

The CEC of Abkhazia received only one statement about a violation in the course of voting.

"There is only one official statement, it was received in the evening and it concerns the removal of a ballot box from at one of the districts. The incident has not been studied yet, tomorrow it will be considered at the first meeting of the CEC," Chairman of CEC Tamaz Gogia told journalists. He did not rule out that there could be more complaints by the time the preliminary results of the election were announced.

The international observers working at the elections did not register any facts of serious violations of the electoral legislation. "There are no signs of abuse by election commissions, on the contrary, everyone is very sensitive to each other," First Deputy Chairman of the State Duma Committee on CIS Affairs, European Integration and Relations with Compatriots Konstantin Zatulin said.

According to the observers, all the problems that emerged in the course of the voting were resolved quite quickly and could not affect the final results.

137 candidates vying for 35 seats in the parliament

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.

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