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Jioeva Gives Kokoity Ultimatum

By Ernest Petrosyan
Friday, December 2
Alla Jioeva, the winner of the presidential runoff in South Ossetia presented an ultimatum to the current president Eduard Kokoity. Jioeva addressed Kokoity with the demand to cancel the "illegal verdict" of the Supreme Court - which is chaired by Kokoity's cousin – that annulled the election results and call off the "illegal decision" of the parliament about the appointment of repeat elections. Otherwise, Jioeva says, she will not take responsibility for the actions of her supporters.

Jioeva's ally, the former Defense Minister Alexander Barankevich, however called on her supporters to observe order. "Remember - they are waiting for a cause to impose an 'emergency situation' regime. We are acting within the law. Those who disagree - are free to go. If all of you disagrees - I will go," said Barankevich to Jioeva's supporters rallying on the main square in Tskhinvali. Yet, he called on the gathered supporters not to leave the square until all their demands are met.

Jioeva, after meeting Russian diplomats in Tskhinvali, held a meeting on Wednesday night with the Kremlin’s deputy chief of staff Sergey Vinakurov, who was sent to Tskhinvali by Moscow to try to settle the post-election dispute in the breakaway region. Anatoly Bibilov, a presidential candidate backed by Moscow who lost the race to Jioeva, in the now annulled runoff, has kept a low profile since the second round of the election. According to Jioeva there was “constructive dialogue” with the Kremlin official and it would continue later on Thursday.

As Itar-Tass news agency reports, Jioeva has no intention to make any compromise and to back off from protecting her victory in the November 27 runoff, even if she was allowed to run in the repeat election set for March 25, 2012. She has formally requested the Supreme Court overturn its earlier decision annulling the runoff results. The Supreme Court confirmed that it received an appeal from Jioeva but failed to specify when it would consider it.

US Senator John McCain released a statement yesterday on the Russian government’s continued interference and manipulation in South Ossetia.

“If there are any doubts that the upcoming elections in Russia will be a farce, they should be put to rest by the recent events in South Ossetia. This breakaway state is part of Georgia’s sovereign territory that Russian forces continue to occupy. But when the Kremlin’s preferred presidential candidate was overwhelmingly defeated in elections this weekend, the supreme court of this Russian proxy state declared the results illegal and nullified the vote. Russian parliamentarians and other officials expressed their approval of the nullification," reads McCain's statement.

The US Senator expressed hope that "someday, the Russian government will realize that having democratic states on its border is a source of security for Russia". He also noted that the US government should continue to support the democratically-elected government of Georgia in peacefully ending the occupation of its sovereign territory. Yet, he added that the US must continue to support their human rights and democratic aspirations as well, even though "the electoral process in Russia will likely be just as manipulated by the Russian authorities as that of their client state, South Ossetia.”

According to the recent information, a few thousands of protestors remain on the Tskhinvali central square. The special forces have also surrounded the government building with armored vehicles, expecting a forceful occupation of the government building.