Supreme Court in breakaway South Ossetia launched hearing into a complaint filed by Anatoly Bibilov, who is losing the race for the region’s leadership to Alla Jioyeva, an opposition candidate, whose supporters gathered in Tskhinvali center on Tuesday to celebrate victory.
With most of the votes counted, the breakaway region’s Central Election Commission announced on Monday that Jioyeva, 62-year-old former school teacher and ex-education minister, has 56.74% votes; the breakaway region’s emergency situations minister, Anatoly Bibilov, who is openly supported by the Kremlin and endorsed by outgoing leader Eduard Kokoity, has 40% votes.
Bibilov, however, refused to concede and filed a complaint to the Supreme Court claiming electoral violations. The breakaway region’s Supreme Court called on the Central Election Commission on November 28 not to announce final result of the Sunday’s runoff pending the court proceedings into the Bibilov’s complaint.
On November 29, hundreds of Jioyeva’s supporters gathered on the Tskhinvali’s central square. Jioyeva told the supporters that they gathered to celebrate the victory not to stage color revolution, according to the local news agency.
The breakaway region’s parliament has decided to hold an extraordinary session in connection to recent developments.
The Russian daily Kommersant reported on November 29, citing unnamed official from the breakaway region’s government, that there were two reasons why Jioyeva’s victory was unacceptable for the ruling elite in Tskhinvali. One, the source said, was because of personal enmity more related not directly to Jioyeva, but to those who are behind her, in particular Russian free-style-wrestling team trainer, Jambolat Tedeev – outgoing South Ossetian leader Eduard Kokoity's fierce opponent. Tedeev himself wanted to run for the breakaway region’s leadership, but was barred on the grounds of failing to meet 10-year residency requirement. Tedeev eventually throw his support behind Jioyeva’s candidacy. Before the first round of election Jioyeva said during the pre-election campaign that she decided to run after all “the heavyweight” opposition candidates were barred from running.
Back in 2001 Tedeev and his elder brother Ibragim, helped Kokoity to come into power in the breakaway region, but later because of confrontation brothers partied ways with Kokoity. In 2006 Ibragim Tedeev was killed in Vladikavkaz, Russia’s North Ossetia. At the time there have been conflicting reports in the Russian media about the possible motives behind that murder with versions varied from “criminal score-settling” to political as Ibragim Tedeev was killed ahead of the presidential elections in breakaway South Ossetia in which Kokoity won his second and final term in office.
“If he [Jambolat Tedeev] gains power here, we will witness launch of score-settlings between the clans; we do not need it,” unnamed source told the Kommersant.
Another reason why the governing elite in Tskhinvali is against of Jioyeva’s victory, according to the same source, is that it will show to “Moscow and personally to Dmitry Medvedev that his opinion means nothing for us.” Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev openly supported Anatoly Bibilov when the two met in Vladikavkaz a week before the runoff.
The Kommersant wrote, that a defeat of a candidate openly supported by the Kremlin in small South Ossetia, “which fully depends on Russia, is dangerous for Moscow ahead of the parliamentary and presidential elections” in Russia. Such outcome “will demonstrate the Kremlin’s weakness,” the Russian daily wrote.