Saturday, January 5, 2008

South Ossetian residents turning out in force

Turnout is very strong in the South Ossetian conflict zone, where authorities would like a show of support for Saakashvili. South Ossetia is a patchwork of state and separatist-controlled villages, and regaining Georgia's two separatists regions has been the country's top domestic priority for a decade.

In Tamarasheni, a government-controlled village less than a kilometer from the de facto secessionist South Ossetian capita, 510 out of 755 registered voters showed up by 5 p.m., according to a local election commissioner. In Avnebi, another South Ossetian village, 640 out of 840 cast their ballots by 5 p.m.

The only reported problem in Avnebi came when supporters of Levan Gachechiladze approached the village from the wrong road -- they reportedly passed through three separatist-controlled villages before reaching Avnebi and being denied entrance.

Later, we'll have a post looking at the role the conflict zones are playing in this election, and vice versa.


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