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Khajimba (pictured) was initially declared the winner 28 October 2004 -- Russian news reports say the top court in Georgia's separatist republic of Abkhazia has ruled that opposition presidential candidate Sergei Bagapsh won the election.

The Supreme Court's ruling today followed a recount of all the votes cast in the 3 October election. News reports say the ruling caused several hundred supporters of the main rival candidate, Raul Khajimba, to converge on the courthouse in protest.

Georgia officials say the ballot was illegitimate because the province is part of Georgia, despite a unilateral declaration of independence and de facto autonomy since a war in 1992-93.

Abkhazia is not recognized by the international community.

(AP/AFP)
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