Presidential race between three candidates in breakaway Abkhazia will most likely end in a runoff, one of the candidates, Raul Khajimba, said.
"It seems there will be a second round," he told RFE/RL Russian-language service, Ekho Kavkaza, on August 23, three days before the early elections.
Khajimba has largely been overshadowed in the campaign by developments involving confrontation between the two other candidates - Alexander Ankvab and Sergey Shamba.
Khajimba was the breakaway region’s vice-president in 2005-2009. He took over the post as a result of a power-sharing agreement with late Abkhaz leader Sergey Bagapsh following a fiercely disputed presidential election in 2004. Although in those elections Khajimba’s presidential bid was publicly backed by Moscow, in recent years he has been trying to position himself as a critic of Abkhazia's overreliance on Moscow.
In May, 2009 Khajimba resigned from the post of vice president, citing disagreements with Bagapsh. He ran for president in December, 2009 election in which Bagapsh was re-elected for the second term; Khajimba, who was Bagapsh’s main rival in those elections, received 15.4% of votes.
Khajimba says that in case of victory he would invite two other candidates in his coalition government.