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Abkhaz Vote Count Underway
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 26 Aug.'11 / 21:42

A screengrab from the Russian TV showing a voter cast ballot at one of the polling stations in Sokhumi, August 26.

With more than have of registered voters cast thier ballot on August 26, presidential election in Abkhazia have been declared as valid by the breakaway region’s central election commission, Abkhaz news agency, Apsnipress, reported, after the polling stations were closed at 8pm local time.

The central election commission said earlier it would announce first early results of the snap election, three months after the death of Abkhaz leader Sergey Bagapsh, by the noon on Saturday.

There have been no reports about incidents during the voting on August 26.

Runoff will be held in two weeks if none of the three candidates – Raul Khajimba, Sergey Shamba and Alexander Ankvab - garner more than half of the votes in the first round.

Apsnipress reported, quoting CEC chairman, Batal Tabagua, that two complaints have been filed by the representatives of two candidates - Raul Khajimba and Sergey Shamba; both of the complaints over electoral violations, he said, were filed in the Gali district. He also said that CEC was studying whether those reported violations would affect or not election results. 

Initially Apsnipress, which is the region's official news agency, put the voter turnout at over 70%; Abkhaz CEC, however, then said it would release an exact figure of turnout later. CEC chair also said that the turnout was lower than in 2009 election, when the figure stood at 73%.

A screengrab from the Russian TV showing voters line up outside one of the polling stations in Sokhumi, August 26.

Tbilisi, like in case of previous elections in the breakaway region, reacted with condemnation of the vote with Foreign Ministry describing it “a cynical act” by “the Russian occupying forces and its puppet regime” and Parliamentary Speaker Davit Bakradze saying that the election was nothing more than a power struggle between the Russian-controlled clans in Abkhazia.

Chief prosecutor of the breakaway region, Safarbei Mikanba, downplayed remarks made in Tbilisi about the Abkhaz vote, saying that the Georgian authorities’ statements had never affected Abkhaz elections or their results.

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