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Uncertainty Still Surrounds Abkhaz Election

6 October 2004 -- More than a hundred opposition supporters are continuing to protest outside Abkhazia's Central Election Committee today, demanding polling results from the separatist Georgian region's presidential election.

Uncertainty has surrounded the vote since 4 October, when reportedly official preliminary results were announced, but were then rejected by election officials.

Election officials say opposition candidate Sergei Bagapsh, a former prime minister, is now leading the count but have not released vote totals.

Bagapsh himself has already declared victory. But candidate and Prime Minister Raul Khadjimba says the vote was flawed and called for new elections.

Election officials and the main two presidential candidates today met with President Vladislav Ardzinba to discuss the matter.

Abkhaz law states that election officials must release the poll results today.

Abkhazia's independence is not internationally recognized. Georgia's government -- which is seeking to bring the region back under its control -- declared the election illegitimate before it was held.

(RFE/RL's Georgian Service and staff reports/AP)

For full coverage of the elections in Abkhazia, see RFE/RL's webpage on Abkhazia and Georgia.