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Abkhaz Premier May Demand New Vote

5 October 2004 -- A leading contender in Abkazhia's presidential polls, Prime Minister Raul Khadjimba, accused his main rival of election fraud today and said he might demand that a new vote be held in parts of the Georgian separatist province.

Khadjimba said he had special concerns over the vote-counting process in the southern Gali region, where he claimed residents were forced to cast their ballots for nationalist candidate Sergei Bagapsh.

Gali is populated by many ethnic Georgians who have returned there since the end of the 1992-93 separatist war and who are reportedly not in favor of the pro-Russian Khadjimba. The Central Election Commission said today that results from Gali were still not available.

Partial official results show Khadjimba leading with a narrow margin in two of Abkhazia's main dictricts -- the capital Sukhum and the northwestern Gagra region.

Yesterday, Khadjimba was erroneously declared the winner of the 3 October election.

(RFE/RL's Georgian Service/Novosti Gruziya/Prime News)

For the latest news on the elections in Abkhazia, see RFE/RL's webpage on Abkhazia and Georgia.

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