South Ossetia’s elections last year were not the best.Before the tiny, Russian-dominated country (a breakaway state from Georgia and the cause of 2008’s Russia-Georgia war) held its election in November, the country had seen armed guards storming the parliament building, demanding that the Kremlin-supported President Kokoity be allowed to stay a third term. Later, when he was refused. a different candidate’s supporter stormed the Parliament with machine guns, making it something of a trend.
Finally, a new Kremlin-supported candidate, Anatoly Bibilov, was chosen and ran on the platform of officially making South Ossetia a Russian state.
The problem is, he didn’t win.
Instead, Alla Dzhioyeva, an anti-corruption campaigner, found herself winner with 57 per cent of the vote. All hell broke lose, the Supreme Court declared “irregularities”, and hundreds of masked, machine gun toting soldiers blocked off the city centre, many covering their face.
The situation, unfortunately, has not improved. Dzhioyeva had been planning her inauguration tomorrow, despite official opposition. At 6pm local time, law enforcers tried to take her in for questioning and she apparently some kind of medical emergency.
Ria Novosti quotes deputy prosecutor general, Georgy Kabulov, who says that Dzhioyeva suffered a “hypertensive crisis” when arrested — suggesting a stroke.
A slightly different account comes from Ekho Kavkaza, who say that 15 people, wearing masks and camouflage gear, broke into the office and attempted to arrest Dzhioyeva. She then suffered a heart attack but attempts to assist her were blocked by the guards (via Democracy and Freedom Watch).
Incidentally, the South Ossetian interior ministry had issued a statement just yesterday banning “mass public gatherings”.
A new election is planned for March 25 — but something tells us it may work out just as complicated. Even former Kremlin candidate Bibilov is refusing to run, saying the situation was too tense to work.
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