Observers give Abkhaz poll thumbs up

Russian observers say no serious violations have been registered during the Abkhazian snap presidential elections which follow the death of the independent republic’s leader Sergey Bagapsh.

On Friday morning, polling stations opened their doors to voters who are to choose their third leader since the rebel republic first broke away from Georgia in the 1990s.The winner will also be the second president since Russia recognized Abkhazia’s independence exactly three years ago – on August 26, 2008.

A member of the delegation of Russian observers, Konstantin Kosachev, who is also the head of the State Duma’s Foreign Affairs Committee, told Itar-Tass that as of the moment, no grave complaints had been submitted to the Abkhazian Central Election Commission.

“Indeed, emotions during an election campaign run pretty high here in the Caucasus,” he said. “However, from a purely factual perspective, no serious violations have been registered.”

The official also pointed out that the republic had done a good job preparing for the election, as they had been more than satisfactorily held. Prior to their trip to the Caucasian state, the Russian delegation thoroughly studied Abkhazian election law and came to the conclusion that it meets the highest international standards.

The Russian parliamentary monitors intend to visit at least half of the polling stations in order to confirm their “emotions and preferences” with statistical data.

“Voters turnout is obviously high,” Kosachev said. He noted that the Abkhazian people well understand that the republic’s internal life and affairs don’t only depend on the election, but also on the prospects for the international recognition of its independence.

Three candidates are competing for the presidential seat: acting President Aleksandr Ankvab, Prime Minister Sergey Shamba and former vice president Raul Khajimba.

The head of the Russian observers’ delegation Vladimir Pekhtin noted that all three contenders have been in politics for quite a while. “There is no reason to doubt that the competition is fair and will be won by the candidate who receives the largest number of votes,” he said.

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