12 December 2009, 20:00
Abkhazia elects President today
Today, at the presidential election in Abkhazia, by 7:30 p.m. Moscow time the voter turnout was 64.29 percent; at many polling stations people had to wait for their turn to cast ballots. As stated by Batal Tabagua, chair of the Central Electoral Commission (CEC) of Abkhazia, the figure allows recognizing the election valid. The CEC promises to announce preliminary outcomes by midday on December 13.
According to exit polls, the incumbent President Sergey Bagapsh is in the lead with 57.5 percent of votes. The runner-up - businessman Beslan Butba - is a lot behind with 18.5 percent, as reported by the Russian News Service".
"The turnout was very high; Abkhazian voters were very active; voting went on without violations," Vladimir Churov, head of the Russian CEC, who is in Sukhumi as observer, told the "Interfax" tonight.
In total, five candidates run for the post: apart from Sergey Bagapsh and Beslan Butba, who also chairs the Party of Economic Development, they are Raul Khadzhimba, ex-vice-president, Zaur Ardzinba, manager of the state "Abkhazian Sea Shipping Company", and Academician Vitaly Bganba, Doctor of Philosophy and Economy.