South Ossetia votes for new president and new name, hopes to join Russia

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April 10, 2017 – Fort Russ News – 

RIA Novosti – translated by J. Arnoldski – 

On Sunday, April 9th, the Republic of South Ossetia held presidential elections. The registered candidates for the post of president were Speaker of Parliament Anatoly Bibilov, President Leonid Tibilov, and KGB officer Alan Gagloev. The head of the Central Electoral Commission of the republic, Bella Plieva, has announced that Bibilov has won 57.98% of the votes in the first round, Tibilov 30%, and Gagloev 11.01%.

The results of the South Ossetian elections, according to the director of the Center for Political Conjuncture, Aleksey Chesnakov, are a signal of closer ties between the republic and the Russian Federation. 

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“The results of the elections in South Ossetia should be considered a signal for further convergence between South Ossetia and Russia. Anatoly Bibilov is known for his consistent position on South Ossetia directly becoming part of Russia, and as an active supporter of a new agreement with the Russian Federation. Therefore, it cannot be ruled out that there will be new stimuli for the countries to further integrate,” Chesnakov explained. 

Simultaneously with the presidential elections, South Ossetians voted in a referendum on renaming the republic the State of Alaniya. According to the Central Electoral Commission, 78% voted for the name-change and 20% voted against. The initiator of the referendum was President Tibilov himself, who believes that renaming the republic Alaniya will create the needed legal preconditions for the country to join the Russian Federation. 

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NATO has announced that it does not recognize the “so-called” presidential elections in South Ossetia, since the organization still considers the region to be part of Georgia. 

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