Central election commission in breakaway South Ossetia registered four candidates for the March 25 repeat presidential election, local news agency, RES, reported on February 29.
The candidates are ex-chief of the breakaway region’s security service Leonid Tibilov; a special envoy for human rights issues David Sanakoev; leader of the communist party Stanislav Kochiev and the breakaway region’s ambassador to Moscow Dmitry Medoev.
Medoev is believed to be a frontrunner candidate said to be favored by Moscow – an assumption denied by Medoev himself.
“Considering today’s reality, it’s impossible to be someone’s protégé,” he told RFE/RL’s Russian-language service Ekho Kavkaza.
Initially there were total of 22 would-be candidates, but three of them withdrew and others could not make it to the list of candidates after some of them failed in Ossetian and Russian language tests and others were barred from running on the grounds of inaccuracies in the lists of supporters’ signatures.
Among those barred from running are candidates in opposition to ex-South Ossetian leader, Eduard Kokoity, who although formally quit the post, is believed to be retaining significant power through his allies in legislative and executive government.
Barring opposition candidates from running was “predictable,” said vice-speaker of parliament in breakaway region, Yuri Dzitsoiti, who was also refused in registration
“I have said it for number of times previously: only several candidates will be left – those who have been agreed in Moscow,” he told RFE/RL’s Ekho Kavkaza service on February 25.
The repeat elections were set after last November's presidential runoff, won by opposition candidate Alla Jioyeva, was annulled. Jioyeva, who denounced repeat election as illegitimate, was planning to inaugurate herself on February 10, but was hospitalized a day earlier after an incident in her office involving law enforcement officers.