New Tskhinvali Leader to Take Office on May 24

Alan Gagloev will be inaugurated as the new leader of occupied Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia on May 24, per the region’s election administration. The ceremony will be held in the local Drama Theater.

41-year-old Gagloev, the leader of the Nykhas party and former security officer, took the upper hand with 16,134 votes (56.09%) in the runoff of May 8, defeating incumbent Anatoly Bibilov who obtained 11,767 votes (40.90%). 3.01 percent — 867 people — voted against all.

According to the Tskhinvali election administration, 29,423 people – that is 73.93% turnout – participated in the voting.

During the pre-election campaign, Gagloev extensively discussed “lawlessness” in the region, the problem of separation of powers, the judiciary, and the weakness of self-governing bodies.

He also focused on social inequality, with Russian donations ending in the pockets of a powerful few, while many live in hardships.

But his first task as the new leader will be to navigate the region through Russian annexation referendum, slated for July 17 by outgoing Bibilov a few days ago, without consultations with Gagloev.

Gagloev expressed general support for “the unification” with Russia but doubted whether it was the right time in history to hold such a referendum and whether the moment was in Moscow’s favor.

Georgia’s central government, which sees the region as occupied and controlled by Russia, does not recognize “elections” in the region.

As things stand, some 30 thousand ethnic Georgians remain uprooted from the region following the armed conflict in 1991-92 and the 2008 War.

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