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Khajimba Wins Abkhazia's Presidential Election

Raul Khajimba won the vote for president on his fourth attempt.
Raul Khajimba won the vote for president on his fourth attempt.

Raul Khajimba has won Abkhazia's presidential election in the first round.

The head of the region's election commission, Batal Tabagua, told journalists on August 25 that Khajimba, who has unsuccessfully run for president three times since 2004, won 50.57 percent of the votes to avoid any runoff.

His main rival, Aslan Bzhania, gained 35.91 percent.

Mirab Kishmaria was third with 6.4 percent, followed by Leonid Dzapshba with 3.4 percent.

Turnout was about 60 percent.

All four candidates have spoken out in favor of a close partnership with Russia, which provides financial support for Abkhazia and has stationed some 4,000 troops there.

The election winner will replace Aleksandr Ankvab, Abkhazia's de facto president who was forced to resign on June 1 following days of political upheaval.

Georgia has called the election illegal.

Abkhazia is a Russian-backed separatist region that declared independence from Georgia. Russia recognized the region as an independent state following a short war with Tbilisi in August 2008. Only a few countries followed Russia's lead.

Based on reporting by ITAR-TASS and Reuters

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