Tskhinvali Court Dismisses Appeals of Rejected ‘Presidential’ Hopefuls

The top court in the Russian-occupied Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia has dismissed appeals of five “presidential” hopefuls against the election administration’s decision to refuse their registration as candidates for the upcoming “presidential elections.”

The court dismissed the lawsuits of lawmaker David Sanakoev and recently ousted defense chief Ibragim Gasseev, who are widely seen as incumbent leader Anatoly Bibilov’s main contenders, as well as those of artist Geno Kajaev, university lecturer Taimuraz Tadtaev and Aslan Kutarov, Tskhinvali-based RES news agency reported on March 21. 

One more rejected candidate Rustam Dzagoev has also filed a lawsuit against the local election authorities. His case is pending. 

After the court announcements, some pro-opposition Telegram channels described the move as Bibilov’s “attempt to seize power by force” and “destabilize the situation in the interests of Georgia.”

Previously, on February 21, the voting commission also refused to proceed with former leader Eduard Kokoity’s registration.

Yesterday, Kokoity held a rally in downtown Tskhinvali, also attended by former “defense minister” Gasseev and his supporters, demanding detention of voting commission members whom they accused of falsifying Gasseev’s signature lists.

They also demanded the release of documents to file a lawsuit against Anatoly Bibilov, running for re-election, whom they accuse of failing in Ossetian language test.

“My main goal is not even a return to the election race, but to prevent Anatoly Bibilov from participating in it. As long as he remains a presidential candidate, he will simply not let us hold fair elections,” Gasseev was quoted as saying.

The occupied region’s voting commission on March 15 registered five persons as candidates, while rejecting 12 candidacies. Those greenlighted include Anatoly Bibilov, Nykhas party leader Alan Gagloev, former lawmaker Dmitry Tasoev, incumbent legislator Garry Muldarov, and deputy speaker Alexander Pliev.

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