Parliamentary elections underway in South Ossetia
Published May 24th 2004 in Interfax

Parliamentary elections are being held in Georgia's breakaway republic of South Ossetia.

Seventy five polling stations have been opened in the republic, the Central Elections Commission told Interfax. Three parties - Unity, the People's Party, and the Communist Party are running under the proportional voting system. In total, 34 deputies are to be elected to the parliament. Four seats have been reserved for ethnic Georgians.

The situation is normal in South Ossetia and voting is being monitored by representatives of Moscow, Transdnestria and Abkhazia. Ethnic Georgians are taking part in the voting, the commission said.

Georgian State Minister Georgy Khaindrava told Interfax on Sunday that "elections in Tskhinvali cannot be considered legitimate since they are not recognized by Tbilisi or in the rest of the world."

"Unfortunately, individual political groups in Russia support the separatist regimes in Tskhinvali and Sukhumi, which can be judged from State Duma Deputy Konstantin Zatulin's arrival in Tskhinvali and Krasnodar Governor Alexander Tkachev's arrival in Sukhumi," Khaindrava said.

He added that these politicians are not expressing the Russian authorities' official policy concerning the conflict zones in Georgia.

"However, these self-assumed missions are hampering efforts to settle the conflicts and establish normal Russian-Georgian relations," the minister said.

He said that ethnic Georgians who live in South Ossetia are not taking part in the elections.

Talks with the South Ossetian leaders on the settlement of the Georgian-Ossetian conflict will be continued, Khaindrava said.