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The leaders of two South Ossetian extra-parliamentary opposition parties are about to found a Civic Forum and a fund to support democracy. But it remains unclear how that organization will be financed, and whether its leaders, who are currently based outside South Ossetia, will be able to hold conferences and roundtable discussions in South Ossetia as planned without risking reprisals or arrest.

The two parties in question are Roland Kelekhsayev's People's Party, which was refused registration to participate in the May 31 South Ossetian parliamentary election and Fydybasta, headed by Vyacheslav Gobozov, which failed to poll the minimum 7 percent of the vote required to win parliamentary representation.

Both men subsequently denounced the election results, which gave two parties loyal to President Eduard Kokoity 26 of the total 34 seats, as rigged. On August 7, they issued a joint statement deploring the failure over the past year -- since the start of the Russia-Georgia war that served as the catalyst for Russia's formal recognition on August 26, 2008 of South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states -- to transform South Ossetia with Russia's help into a truly democratic state. Instead, they argued, the republic's corrupt leaders are focussed exclusively on preserving their own personal power.

Despite that condemnation, Gobozov has stressed that the new forum is not being established in order to engage in a struggle with Kokoity for political power.

In the run-up to the first anniversary of the start of the war, Kokoity dismissed South Ossetian Prime Minister Aslanbek Bulatsev and named to succeed him Vadim Brovtsev, the director of a Chelyabinsk-based construction company. Kokoity announced last week that when Brovtsev finally unveils his new cabinet -- which by law he is obliged to do by August 26 -- it will contain fewer ministers than the previous one.

South Ossetian parliament deputy Gennady Kokoyev told the news agency Regnum that the republic does not need 17 ministers. At the same time, he criticized as inappropriate several mergers Brovtsev is reportedly planning, including subsuming the Press, Industry, National Resources Transport and Agriculture ministries into the Ministry for Economic Development.

Kokoyev argued that it would be more logical to abolish agencies that duplicate the work of others, or that could not function within the framework of a market economy. Kokoyev also stressed that people hope the new cabinet will be more professional and less corrupt than the outgoing one.

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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