- ‘I am a little bit upset at Russia’;
- ‘Kokoity wants to steal my victory’
Alla Jioyeva, an opposition candidate who won now annulled presidential runoff in breakaway South Ossetia, said she would not allow “to steal” her victory and would defend it including through street protest rallies.
“There is an attempt to steal this victory from us. People of South Ossetia elected me, but the acting president [Eduard Kokoity] does not want to transfer power in a civilize way,” she said in an interview with the Russian edition of Forbes magazine posted on its website on November 29.
She said that the Supreme Court’s decision annulling the Sunday’s runoff in which she defeated Anatoly Bibilov, a candidate endorsed by the outgoing South Ossetian leader Eduard Kokoity and openly supported by Moscow, was “beyond the legal framework.”
“I have vote tallies from [all the] 85 precincts where it is written that no serious violations were observed; these papers are signed by chairpersons of precinct election commissions, these are signed by representatives of Mr. Bibilov and my representatives [at the precincts],” Jioyeva, a former school teacher and ex-education minister of the breakaway region, said.
“Votes cast for Bibilov – these are votes received as a result of use of administrative resources, these are [votes gained as a result of] huge financial resources and indeed with heavy political artillery from the Russian Federation,” she said.
Asked if she would call on supporters for street rallies, Jioyeva responded: “Yes indeed, in frames of law.”
“We will call on our supporters for defending our constitutional rights,” she said. “There is no force capable to steal our victory,”
Asked if the Abkhaz scenario of power sharing was possible with Bibilov becoming Prime Minister under her leadership, Jioyeva responded: “Absolutely ruled out unless he [Bibilov] behaves himself with dignity like an officer [Bibilov is a former military with the rank of major-general] – that means unless he admits his crashing defeat and our convincing victory. If he does so, then we have a chance for a dialogue.”
Seven years ago disputed presidential elections in Georgia’s another breakaway region of Abkhazia led to fierce confrontation between the two candidates – Sergey Bagapsh and Raul Khajimba, who, like Bibilov now in South Ossetia, was openly backed by Moscow; the crisis was solved after a power sharing agreement with Bagapsh becoming president and Khajimba – vice-president.
When asked about how she would build relations with Russia, Jioyeva responded: “I will tell you frankly: in my heart I am a little bit upset at Russia. I am a citizen of the Russian Federation both with my soul and my passport.” She then said that it seemed certain people with corrupt links with Kokoity were misinforming the top leadership of Russia.
Born in Tskhinvali, Jioyeva, 62, has been a teacher for over two decades in a local school in Tskhinvali; she was a principal of the same school for couple of years before being appointed as the breakaway region’s education minister in 2002. She was sacked in 2008 and charged with misuse of power which eventually resulted into a 2-year suspended sentence in 2010. Jioyeva has dismissed charges against her as politically motivated.
After the first round of election on November 13 in which Jioyeva and Bibilov both garnered about 25% of votes in a race against nine other candidates, Kokoity said that it was “ruled out” for a woman to become South Ossetian leader.
“No one infringes women’s [rights] here. In our society woman are treated very well and they are respected. But anyway, Caucasus is the Caucasus,” said Kokoity, who himself was not eligible to run because he has already served two five-year presidential terms.
He may keep his post for four more months as after annulment of the second round’s results, the breakaway region’s parliament set March 25, 2012 as the date for repeat polls.