Former South Ossetian leader Eduard Kokoity’s application for the region’s presidential polls was rejected.
The region’s election administration explained on March 4 that Kokoity submitted incomplete materials and failed to meet the five-year residency requirement.
Shortly after the refusal, Kokoity told his supporters that the decision was based on fabricated documents issued by the region’s Interior Minister and the head of the State Security Committee.
“We will act in line with the law. So, nobody should think that we will let this go,” Kokoity told the group of approximately 200 supporters and demanded resignation of the two officials, accusing them of fueling up tensions ahead of elections and claiming that "external forces" tell them how to act.
“Enough with dictating South Ossetian people who we should elect and how we should live here,” Kokoity said.
“Those people, who are coming here, I will not name them for now, are discrediting the President of the Russian Federation and hitting at the most precious what we have – our relations with our beloved Russia … Not a single provocateur will manage to change our relations with Russia,” Kokoity said, hinting on the recent visit of Vladislav Surkov, Russian President’s aide.
Vladislav Surkov arrived in Tskhinvali on February 7 and held talks with the region’s leaders, representatives of the election administration and the 34-member legislature, including the lawmakers from the Nikhas and the Unity of People parties, as well as Parliamentary Chairman Anatoly Bibilov, who represents the United Ossetia party and is the incumbent president Leonid Tibilov’s major contender in the presidential polls.
Although the region’s legislature unites four parties, Surkov did not meet the representatives of the People’s Party, which is affiliated with Eduard Kokoity.
Later on the same day the region’s election administration issued a brief statement noting that Kokoity did not live in the region for the past five years, “therefore, he fails to meet the residency requirement and has no legal grounds to undergo registration as a presidential candidate.” “If Eduard Kokoity files application and the relevant authorities of the Republic of South Ossetia confirm that Eduard Kokoity fails to meet the residency requirement, his application will be rejected,” the statement added.
Five candidates are set to run in the polls, including the incumbent South Ossetian leader Leonid Tibilov, Parliament Chairman Anatoly Bibilov and State Security Committee officer Alan Gagloev. Two more potential candidates, Alan Kozonov and Amiran Bagaev, are undergoing the registration procedure, which expires on March 15.
Simultaneously with presidential polls, Tskhinvali will also hold a referendum on renaming the region to “the South Ossetia – the State of Alania.”
Elections in the region are denounced as illegitimate by Tbilisi and the international community, except of Russia and few other countries, which have recognized the region.