SUKHUM, August 25. /TASS/. Polling stations have opened in the Republic of Abkhazia, in which Abkhazians are voting to elect the republic’s new president, the Central Electoral Commission announced on Sunday.
"Voting began all throughout Abkhazia at 08:00 Moscow time for electing the country’s president," the Central Electoral Commission chairman said.
Observers from each presidential candidate are present at all the polling stations. Also, more than 100 international observers have arrived in Abkhazia to monitor the presidential elections. The People’s Control local public organization is exercising independent monitoring of the presidential elections. More than 50 Abkhazian and foreign journalists are covering the event.
Abkhazia is holding its presidential elections for the seventh time since 1994. Nine candidates are competing for the post of the head of the republic: incumbent President Raul Khadzhimba, former Chairman of the State Security Service Astamur Tarba, Chairman of the Amtsakhara opposition party Alkhas Kvitsiniya, ex-Vice-Premier Shamil Adzynba, lawmaker Almas Dzhapua, former Deputy Foreign Minister Oleg Arshba, Chairman of the Akzaara party, former Interior Minister Leonid Dzapshba, entrepreneur Astamur Kakalia and lecturer of the Abkhazian State University Artur Ankvab.
The elections will be recognized as valid, if more than a half of eligible voters go to the polls. A presidential candidate needs to gain more than a half of the electors’ votes to win in the first round of the elections.