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The founding congress of a new political party named Iron (Ossetia) took place on May 22 in Tskhinvali, capital of the unrecognized breakaway republic of South Ossetia.

The party's slogan is "Freedom-Fatherland-Law"; its founders describe it as the only political body in the republic not subordinate either to the president or the government. The republic's only real opposition party, Roland Kelekhsayev's People's Party, was effectively neutralized in the run-up to the parliamentary elections in May 2009, when politicians loyal to President Eduard Kokoity created a puppet party of the same name. The four parties currently represented in parliament are to varying degrees all loyal to Kokoity.

Timur Tskhovrebov, an independent journalist and head of an unofficial union of veterans of the conflict in 1990-92 that ended in the Georgian government's loss of control over the region, announced his intention at a public meeting in November 2009 to establish a new party. On May 22, Tskhovrebov proposed Mukhar Sanakoyev as chairman of Iron's governing council.

Tskhovrebov told that "we support South Ossetia and do not oppose the authorities. But we have differences of opinion with the existing leadership with regard to the process of reconstruction [of homes and infrastructure damaged during the August 2008 Georgia-Russia war], foreign policy, and legislation."

Tskhovrebov said the party will formulate its alternative proposals and submit them to both the parliament and the government. (There is no sign of an imminent end to the current standoff between Kokoity and Prime Minister Vadim Brovtsev.

According to human rights activist Vissarion Aseyev, who is a member of Iron's political council, 72 people have already formally requested party membership and a further 300 have expressed interest in doing so.

The party plans to convene conferences across the republic and elect leaders of local party organizations. It will also participate in the next parliamentary elections in 2014.

About This Blog

This blog presents analyst Liz Fuller's personal take on events in the region, following on from her work in the "RFE/RL Caucasus Report." It also aims, to borrow a metaphor from Tom de Waal, to act as a smoke detector, focusing attention on potential conflict situations and crises throughout the region. The views are the author's own and do not represent those of RFE/RL.


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