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Winner Declared In Breakaway Georgian Republic's Vote

11 October 2004 -- Opposition candidate Sergei Bagapsh was today declared the winner of Abkhazia's presidential election, which was held more than a week ago.

Abkhazia's Central Election Commission made the final announcement, which had been repeatedly delayed since the disputed election was held on 3 October.

Election-commission member Aleksandr Adleiba said Bagapsh's victory was approved by 11 of the commission's 15 members.

Bagapsh spoke after the announcement.

"I call on all of you to understand one thing: Those who have come to lead the republic now are there for all our citizens, regardless of who they voted for," Bagapsh said. "The complex time of elections is over; there is now considerable constructive work ahead."

Adleiba said the commission was prompted to make the announcement today due to the increasingly complicated situation. Abkhazia is a breakaway province of Georgia. It does not enjoy international recognition.

Bagapsh's main rival, former Prime Minister Raul Khajimba, alleged widespread violations and demanded the vote be annulled. But the CEC last week agreed only for a partial new vote to be held in the southern Gali region on 17 October.

Khajimba has appealed the decision, saying the Abkhaz Constitution allows only countrywide votes.