Rebel S. Ossetia leadership poll heads for run-off
03/26/2012 06:48 GMT
MOSCOW, March 26, 2012 (AFP) - Georgia's breakaway region of South Ossetia on Monday was heading for a run-off leadership vote after an election intended to quell a political crisis failed to deliver a clear winner.
Former local KGB security chief Leonid Tibilov had a strong lead after all the ballots were counted, but did not reach the 50 percent needed to win outright, the Moscow-backed rebel province's official news agency said.
Tibilov, who won 42.5 percent of the vote, will face a run-off against human rights commissioner David Sanakoyev, who won 24.6 percent, official agency RES reported.
Sunday's vote was held after a court annulled the results of a November 27 ballot in which opposition candidate Alla Dzhioyeva beat the expected winner who had open backing from Moscow and the outgoing strongman Eduard Kokoity.
Dzhioyeva then led 10 days of street rallies -- also fuelled by anger over alleged official corruption and embezzlement of Russian aid money -- that ended when Kokoity resigned before his term was due to end.
She was hospitalised in February after being interrogated and allegedly beaten by police amid allegations she was planning to seize power by unilaterally inaugurating herself as "president" and did not register for the new ballot.
The vote in the tiny region has been condemned by Georgia and ignored by the West.
It has also caused some embarrassment in Moscow amid signs that it was having trouble keeping control of a territory whose independence it recognised after waging a controversial five-day war with Georgia in 2008.
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