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New Political Confrontation Looms In South Ossetia

Alla Dzhioyeva plans to convene a meeting of her supporters in Tskhinvali on January 21.
The fragile political stability that followed the agreement signed in December between outgoing de facto South Ossetian President Eduard Kokoity and Alla Dzhioyeva, whose victory in the runoff ballot to choose his successor was annulled by the breakaway republic's Supreme Court, is in jeopardy.

Dzhioyeva announced on January 18 she had revoked her signature to the December 10 agreement because Kokoity failed to honor it.

Dzhioyeva also formally asked acting President Vadim Brovtsev to cede power to her. She warned that failure to do so would be construed as a bid to retain power illegally.

The December 10 agreement was mediated by a senior Kremlin official. It required Dzhioyeva to end the protests by hundreds of her supporters against the Supreme Court's annulment of the outcome of the November 27 runoff, in which the provisional results gave Dzhioyeva a clear lead over Moscow's preferred candidate, South Ossetian Emergency Situations Minister Anatoly Bibilov. In return, Kokoity would step down as de facto president (his second term had already expired) and dismiss two of his closest associates: Supreme Court Chairman Atsamaz Bichenov and Prosecutor-General Taymuraz Khugayev.

Dzhioyeva duly complied with the terms of that agreement, but the republic's parliament refused to endorse the dismissals of Bichenov and Khugayev. Dzhioyeva sought to pressure both Brovtsev and Moscow to intervene, but without success.

Brovtsev, whom Dzhioyeva thanked for "all the positive things you have done," has not yet responded to her ultimatum. Over the past month, Brovtsev has moved to replace several of Kokoity's cronies, including Construction Minister Chermen Khugayev and state advisers Nugzar Gabarayev and Kosta Dzugayev. He then named former Health Minister Dzhemal Dzhigkayev, who placed last of the 11 presidential candidates and backed Dzhioyeva in the runoff, to replace one of those advisers.

To date, three people have announced their intention to register as candidates in the repeat presidential ballot scheduled for March 25. Deputy Defense Minister Igor Alborov registered as a candidate in last November's election but pulled out at the last minute. State Committee for the Media head Georgy Kabisov placed sixth with 7.62 percent of the vote. Deputy parliament speaker Yury Dzitstsoity, who backed Dzhioyeva in December in her standoff with Kokoity, announced today that he will run.

Dzhioyeva plans to convene a meeting of her supporters in Tskhinvali on January 21.

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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