Race for Most of Abkhaz MP Seats Goes into Runoff
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 12 Mar.'12 / 13:52

More than half of seats in breakaway Abkhazia’s 35-member Parliament is still up for grabs in a second round of voting in two weeks as only 13 candidates managed to gain an outright victory in the March 10 election held under the majoritarian system, the breakaway regions central election commission said on Sunday.

Runoff races will be held in those 20 single-mandate constituencies where none of the candidates managed to garner over 50% of votes.

Results from one electoral district were still unknown as of Monday morning and repeat elections will be held in one district in two months because voter turnout there was less than 25%, which is a minimum required for the vote to be valid.

Among those 13 candidates, who have won the race with over 50% of votes in their respective single-mandate constituencies, one is Raul Khajimba, leader of opposition Forum for the National Unity of Abkhazia and another one is a candidate from the ruling United Abkhazia party; other eleven candidates are independent ones nominated by initiative groups.

Abkhaz news agency, Apsnipress, reported citing chairman of breakaway region’s central election commission, Batal Tabagua, that voter turnout in the March 10 parliamentary election was 44.5%.

Elections in the breakaway region are denounced as illegitimate by Tbilisi and the international community, except of Russia and few other countries, which have recognized Abkhazia.

Total of 148 candidates were running for seats in the Parliament, including 16 women and 21 incumbent lawmakers. Only 34 of them were nominated by political parties and others were nominated by initiative groups.

The parliamentary elections came less than a week after voters in Abkhazia cast ballot in Russia’s presidential election. 74,135 voters reportedly cast their ballot and 90.9% of them voted for Vladimir Putin.

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