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Abkhazia heads to runoff in presidential vote

Abkhazia heads to runoff in presidential vote

PanARMENIAN.Net - Incumbent leader Raul Khadzhimba and Alkhaz Kvitsiniya, head of the Amtsakhara opposition party, will face off in a runoff election in Abkhazia, RFE/RL reports.

Separatist election authorities said on August 26 that results of the vote, which Georgia's president has called "a sham," show Khadzhimba and Kvitsiniya placed first and second, respectively.

"So far, we have not announced any figures after the first round. We have identified two leaders for the runoff election. Khadzhimba and Kvitsiniya have made it to the runoff," Abkhaz election supervisor Tamaz Gogia said, adding that further details will be provided later in the day at a news conference.

Interfax news agency quoted Gogia as saying the runoff would take place on September 8.

Election authorities say that 116,000 people were registered to vote on August 25 at 152 polling stations across Abkhazia, which Russia recognized as an independent country after fighting a brief war against Georgia in 2008.

Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili has called the election "a sham."

"The Abkhaz authorities are de facto holding the illegitimate presidential election today. Georgia condemns this sham process as one more violation of our national sovereignty," Zurabishvili wrote on Twitter.

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