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New South Ossetian Leader Outlines Priorities
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 15 Apr.'17 / 15:10

New South Ossetian leader Anatoly Bibilov held a press-conference on April 12, for the first time since his victory in the region’s April 9 presidential polls.

Speaking about the possible referendum on joining the Russian Federation, Anatoly Bibilov stated that the Alliance and Integration Treaty, signed between Tskhinvali authorities and the Russian Federation in 2015, could have been made as “fully integrational” as possible, “and then, all questions regarding the referendum would have been dropped.”

“I absolutely understand that today it would be more difficult to do it,” he added.

Bibilov said that he would consult with the Russian leadership and local political forces on how to proceed with the referendum issue and report to the public with “a more accurate and detailed response” after these consultations.

The new Tskhinvali leader also said that his goal would be to gain more independence recognitions of the region, adding that there was no contradiction between that effort and the work on joining the Russian Federation. “We need to establish relations with [all] possible countries that recognize the Republic of South Ossetia, this absolutely will not go against the future of the Republic and the people of South Ossetia,” Bibilov noted.

Bibilov also said that he was in contact with Italian Lega Nord party, to which he and his associates had sent a document containing “political-legal arguments of South Ossetia.” Bibilov added that he believed “this year” they would “initiate discussion on this in the Italian Parliament.” “At least, we received such promise from them,” he said.

Another priority voiced by Bibilov was developing relations with “Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics” in Ukraine. Calling them “the republics that are going through the same road as South Ossetia,” Bibilov stated that “the first thing we are going to do is to build relations with these republics.”

Bibilov also touched upon “the openness” of the region for foreigners, but on “absolutely equal partnership.” “If we manage to do this, then I think that the visibility of the Republic of South Ossetia will increase abroad, in the far abroad, in the first place,” the leader-elect stated.

Bibilov spoke on cooperation with former Soviet states as well, saying that the region’s foreign ministry will have to work “actively” to that end.

Speaking on the region’s local issues, Bibilov confirmed to the journalists that the next parliamentary election in 2019 would be “held by mixed proportional-majoritarian system,” saying that “this decision has already been.”

Previous two legislative polls in the region were held by fully proportional system. Before that, half of the region’s 34-member assembly was filled by MPs from majoritarian, single-seat constituencies, while the other half was distributed proportionally in the closed party-list contest.

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