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Putin congratulates Bibilov on winning South Ossetian presidential election

Anatoly Bibilov won Sunday’s presidential election securing 57.98% of the vote,

MOSCOW, April 10. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin has congratulated Anatoly Bibilov on winning the Sunday’s presidential election in South Ossetia.

"I sincerely congratulate you on the convincing victory in the presidential election in the Republic of South Ossetia. I mark with satisfaction a high level of traditionally friendly relations between Russia and South Ossetia," said the message posted on the Kremlin website on Monday.

Putin expressed confidence that relations between the two countries will continue developing under the new president. The Russian leader also confirmed that Russia will continue providing "comprehensive assistance to South Ossetia in the settlement of topical issues of social-economic development as well as in ensuring national security".

Putin also wished Bibilov sound health, well-being and success.

Anatoly Bibilov won Sunday’s presidential election securing 57.98% of the vote, the Central Election Commission reports citing preliminary figures. Incumbent President Leonid Tibiliov garnered 30% and State Security Committee officer Alan Gagloyev gained 11.01%. Under South Ossetia’s laws, a candidate needs to score 50% plus one vote to be elected in the first round.

The citizens also cast their vote at a referendum on the restoration of the republic’s historical name of Alania. A total of 78% of voters backed the proposal to rename the republic (the name Republic of South Ossetia will remain as an equivalent) and another 20% were against the idea. The election was declared as valid and the voter turnout reached 81%.

Abkhazia and South Ossetia were recognized by the Russian Federation on August 26, 2008 after Georgia attacked South Ossetia in early August 2008.

Abkhazia backed Russia’s operation to coerce Georgia into peace and asked Moscow to recognize its sovereignty. After the 2008 conflict Moscow declared that it would formally recognize the independence of both South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Russia's allies Nicaragua and Venezuela followed the suit, as did a number of small Pacific island states.