The deputy defense minister in breakaway South Ossetia has offered a referendum to allow the region’s incumbent leader, Eduard Kokoity, to run for the third term this year.
“Eduard Kokoity has led our Republic to victory and recognition of its independence is linked to his name; our state has started revival under his leadership and this course should be continued,” a local official news agency in Tskhinvali reported on May 4, quoting Ibragim Gaseev, the breakaway region’s deputy defense minister.
Kokoity said in response that he would remain committed to his earlier statement that he would not run for the third term, but also said on May 4 that he had no right to ban the holding of such a referendum.
“I understand it very well that it is a serious signal – it is a response by the people to the attempts by destructive forces to shake up the situation in the Republic through provocations ahead of the elections,” Kokoity said, adding that he had always felt “the support and understanding of the people” and the initiative to hold a referendum “will find its reasonable resolution.”
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