05 December 2011, 23:00

Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of November 28 to December 4

Voting at elections to the sixth-convocation State Duma of the Russian Federation, and regional elections held in some southern regions; song contest "Junior Eurovision-2011" in Yerevan, won Georgian company; nomination of candidates for the post of the head of Adygea; municipal elections in Azerbaijan; confrontation in South Ossetia after the second round of presidential election, where Russia is involved, - look these and other events in the Caucasus in the review of the week of November 28-December 4, 2011, prepared by the "Caucasian Knot".

South of Russia: elections to State Duma and local elections in some regions

The voting at elections of Russian State Duma Deputies began on December 4 in the regions of the Southern and North-Caucasian Federal Districts (SFD and NCFD) after the polling stations were opened at 8:00 a.m. On that day, residents of the Astrakhan Region, Stavropol Territory and Ingushetia also voted at elections to their regional parliaments; and residents of Grozny (Chechnya) and Magas (Ingushetia) - at elections to their city assemblies; besides, in some regions also local elections were held.

The "Caucasian Knot" correspondents were monitoring the situation in real time and held the so-called "tweet-observation" at polling stations of the city of Derbent in Dagestan, Volgograd, Sochi and Tskhinvali. Almost everywhere the people in charge of the process tried to remove them from the polling stations and were not always eager to answer observers' questions and comment their doubts.

Observers from political parties stated violations. Thus, observers from the "Yabloko" Party Stavropol said that they were let into the polling stations after the ballot boxes had been sealed; in Volgograd, they reported about non-sanctioned campaigning for the "Edinaya Rossiya" (United Russia) Party and about the voting of college students in their educational institution; in Makhachkala - about the fact of throw-in of ballot papers. However, according to local election commissions, as well as of the Central Election Commission (CEC) of the Russian Federation, no gross violations were fixed. The Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) has also stated that there were no such violations at the State Duma elections, which could significantly affect the outcomes.

According to preliminary data of the Russian CEC, by 9:00 a.m. on December 5, they had processed 93.27 percent of the minutes they received from polling stations. The "Edinaya Rossiya" Party won 49.72 percent of the vote; the CPRF (Communist Party of the Russian Federation) gathered 19.15 percent of votes; the "Spravedlivaya Rossiya" (Fair Russia) - 13.16 percent; and the LDPR (Liberal-Democratic Party of Russia) - 11.67 percent. The remaining three political parties on the list - the "Patriots of Russia", "Yabloko" and "Pravoe Delo" (Right Cause) - failed to overcome the threshold by winning 0.96, 3.14 and 0.58 percent of votes accordingly.

Armenia: "Junior Eurovision-2011" won by Georgian singers

On December 3, Yerevan hosted the contest "Junior Eurovision-2011", which was won by the Georgian group "Candy", who performed the song "Candy Music" and received 108 points. The highest score (12 points) was given to the group by the audiences of Armenia, Belarus and Lithuania.

The second and third places went to young singers from the Netherlands and Belarus. Ekaterina Ryabova, 14, from Russia who performed the song "Like Romeo and Juliet" took the fourth place. She was followed by Dalita (Dalit Avanesyan), 12, from Armenia with the song "Welcome to Armenia".

The "Junior Eurovision-2011" contest in Yerevan was attended by young singers aged 10-15 from 13 countries.

Adygea: three candidates to the post of republic's leader offered to Russian President

On December 1, the "Edinaya Rossiya" Party made a list of candidates for the post of the head of Adygea, to be submitted to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. It includes Messrs Kumpilov, Murat Karalbievich, the current Prime Minister of the Republic of Adygea; Tkhakushinov, Aslancheriy Kitovich, the incumbent head of Adygea; and Shverikas, Vyacheslav Nikolaevich, a Member of the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation.

The first meetings on the issue of nominating candidates for the post of the head of Adygea were held on November 27. Kremlin sources did not rule out then that Tkhakushinov could be dismissed with formulation "for health reasons"; however, this version was not announced officially.

Let us note here that Mr Tkhakushinov's term of office expires in January 2012. In early June this year, he was operated on for heart vessel stenting; then, he took his treatment in Germany and returned to his duties in early August. On November 17, it became known that prominent public and political figures and workers of culture of Adygea sent an appeal to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev asking him to appoint a new head of the republic.

Azerbaijan: over 270,000 voters take part in municipal elections

On November 3, 86 electoral constituencies of Azerbaijan held repeated, additional and new elections to 330 local municipalities. They were attended by 271,108 voters - 23.46 percent of voters' lists. In total, 1550 candidates tan for 464 seats in the municipalities.

The elections were caused by vacant seats in local self-governments that appeared after the outcomes of the municipal elections, held in Azerbaijan on December 23, 2009, in nine municipalities were recognized null and void.

The country's CEC of the country reported no violations during the elections; while local observers said that polling stations saw very low voter turnout, because the elections were not nationwide; besides, people have no confidence in their municipalities.

South Ossetia: Russia gets involved in settling conflict after presidential election

On November 28, 2011, the election offices of both presidential candidates in South Ossetia - of Anatoly Bibilov and Alla Djioeva - hurried to announce their victory in the second round of the presidential election held on November 27. Candidates had expected announcement of preliminary outcomes, but this did not happen.

Mr Bibilov's supporters filed a complaint at the Supreme Court of South Ossetia, asserting that his opponent had pressed the electorate and tried, and that there was a fact of buying votes. By the noon the data of the CEC of South Ossetia appeared, according to which, based on the processed data from 87 percent of polling stations, 56.74 percent of voters cast their votes for Ms Djioeva, while 40 percent went to Bibilov.

On November 29, the Supreme Court of South Ossetia, having considered the Bibilov's complaint, annulled all the results of the second round of the election. After the court decision, the parliament appointed the repeated presidential election on March 25, 2012. Supporters of Alla Djioeva began a series of protest actions demanding to recognize her victory; and she formed the State Council and demanded from the incumbent president of South Ossetia Eduard Kokoity to resign; however, the latter refused.

Currently, Tskhinvali is unofficially visited by a representative of the administration of the Russian Federation Sergey Vinokurov, who mediates the existing authorities and Alla Djioeva and meets both parties of the conflict.

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