Unrest hits S Ossetia after polls
Supporters of South Ossetia’s Dzhioyeva march in Tskhinvali Nov 29. AP photoGovernment troops fired warning shots in the air yesterday as thousands rallied to support a presidential candidate whose apparent victory over a Kremlin-backed rival was annulled in the breakaway Georgian province of South Ossetia.
A handful of soldiers that guarded the main government building in the capital of Tskhinvali fired the shots as Alla Dzhioyeva’s supporters approached while chanting her name and “Justice!” South Ossetians broke away from Georgia in a war in the early 1990s. An anti-corruption crusader, Dzhioyeva declared herself president of South Ossetia early after she led with about 57 percent of Nov. 27’s run-off vote with ballots from 74 of the 85 precincts counted.
Her rival Anatoly Bibilov, who had been endorsed by Russia’s dominant pro-Kremlin party, was trailing with 40 percent. Bibilov was the choice of the outgoing president, Eduard Kokoity, whom critics have accused of embezzling lavish Russian aid. Dzhioyeva’s announcement followed Nov. 29’s Supreme Court ruling that invalidated the results of the election due to alleged violations and barred her from a new election set for March. She denounced the ruling and said she is forming a new government. Also yesterday, a sizable South Ossetian community in Moscow called on the separatist government to recognize Dzhioyeva as president.