Pro-Russian party wins “illegitimate” South Ossetia election

Georgia’s Foreign Ministry: this election was "a complete disregard of the international law”. Photo by N. Alavidze, 09 Jun 2014 - 13:27, Tbilisi,Georgia

The international community believes last weekend’s parliamentary elections in Georgia’s breakaway region South Ossetia are "illegitimate”.

Officials in Tbilisi said the June 8 election was: "Another unsuccessful attempt of concealing the ethnic cleansing of thousands of people by fake elements of democratic governance”.

In de-facto South Ossetia, election officials said the political party that won the elections was the same group who had called for a referendum to unite with Russia.

Yesterday, when around a third of all votes had been counted, the pro-Russian party Yedinaya Osetiya (United Ossetia) had gained about 44 percent of the vote.

Party leader Anatoly Bibilov, who is South Ossetia’s acting Minister of Emergency Situations, said he would begin work to unify with Russia as soon as his party set up a majority faction in the de-facto Parliament.

"The main aspiration for us is to immediately rejoin Russia. That is why voters have supported the United Ossetia party,” Babilov said

"We’ve repeatedly said that we are willing to spare no effort to achieve this goal. We will start working on this issue soon.”

Earlier today, Georgia’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying the June 8 election was a "complete disrespect and disregard of the international law”.

Globally, major players stated they did not recognise the legitimacy of Sunday’s Parliamentary elections in South Ossetia.

The European Union Foreign Policy chief Catherine Ashton said the organisation was against the elections and the EU firmly supported Georgia’s territorial integrity.

"The European Union supports the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Georgia, as recognized by international law. In view of the reports about the elections in the Georgian breakaway region of South Ossetia on 8 June, we recall that the European Union does not recognize the constitutional and legal framework within which these elections have taken place," Ashton said.

Today, the North Atlantic Alliance (NATO) also stated it did not recognise de-facto South Ossetia’s so called elections.

"This election does not contribute to a peaceful and lasting settlement of the situation in Georgia. NATO Allies do not recognise the Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions of Georgia as independent states,” the statement read.

On June 4, NATO Allied Defence Ministers reiterated their full support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia within its internationally recognised borders.

Meanwhile, the election authorities in South Ossetia said at least two other parties were set to clear the seven percent hurdle needed to enter Parliament.

Initial results of the election revealed the top three parties were the United Ossetia party (44 percent), Unity of People (16.4 percent) and People’s Party (7.5 percent).

Latest figures stated there were about 42,000 people who were eligible to vote in the South Ossetia elections however only 51 percent voted on Sunday. This level of voter turnout was deemed as particularly low for a region where about 90 percent of the electorate traditionally goes to the polls to cast ballots.

The 34-seat de-facto South Ossetian Parliament is elected for a five-year term under the proportional system. Nine parties challenged for parliamentary seats in this election.

Russia has kept military bases in South Ossetia and Georgia’s other breakaway region Abkhazia since the August 2008 war between Russia and Georgia.