The breakaway South Ossetian Foreign Ministry said on November 1 that the so-called alternative independence referendum and presidential elections, scheduled in parallel to those organized by the secessionist authorities on November 12, have been orchestrated by the Georgian authorities and aim to escalate tensions in the region.
The 'alternative polls' are being initiated by the newly-set up Salvation Union of Ossetians organization, which is run by the opponents of the secessionist authorities of South Ossetia.
Although officials in Tbilisi have condemned both elections as illegitimate, Tskhinvali claims that the alternative elections are being staged with Tbilisi’s backing in an attempt to establish a “puppet government.”
“As was expected, the Georgian authorities, which have no levers to manipulate either the process of preparation of the polls, or the [election] results, are trying to mount pressure with all available measures,” the breakaway region’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement posted on the South Ossetian Press and Information Committee’s web-site.
Dimitri Sanakoev, a former prime minister of breakaway South Ossetia, is among five other candidates running in the alternative presidential polls. He met with local residents of the Akhalgori district on November 1 as a part of his pre-election campaign. Akhalgori is formally part of South Ossetia’s former autonomous district, but is currently under the control of Georgia’s central authorities.