|S. Ossetia court requests poll result delay|
|November 29, 2011|
The Supreme Court in the breakaway Georgian region of South Ossetia asked the election commission on Monday to delay the announcement of results in a run-off presidential poll for a day so it could examine a complaint by one of the candidates.
Anatoly Bibilov, the region's emergencies minister, and Alla Dzhioyeva, its former education minister, competed on Sunday to become South Ossetia's first new president since Russia recognised the sliver of land as independent after Moscow's brief 2008 war with pro-Western Georgia.
South Ossetia's Central Election Commission said preliminary results looking at more than half the ballots cast, showed Dzhioyeva won with 56 percent of votes, while Bibilov received 40 percent.
But Bibilov accused his rival of foul play and filed a complaint to the region's Supreme Court, citing voting violations, while Dzhioyeva called on him to admit defeat.
The Supreme Court asked the Commission to refrain from further announcements of results and said it would need a day to examine the complaint.
"If I were in his place, I would go straight to my opponent and congratulate them on their victory," Dzhioyeva told Reuters by telephone.
Venezuela, Nicaragua, and the Pacific nation of Nauru have also recognised South Ossetia and Abkhazia, two regions that have governed themselves with Russian backing since separatist wars with Tbilisi after the 1991 Soviet collapse.
Other countries consider them part of Georgia, which has dismissed the South Ossetian election as illegitimate.
Bibilov, 41, and Dzhioyeva, 62, share pro-Kremlin sympathies and an anti-Georgian stance. The winner will replace Eduard Kokoity, a former wrestling champion whose second term expires at the end of this month.
But while Bibilov has said South Ossetia should become part of Russia by unifying with North Ossetia, a Russian province across the border whose population is mostly ethnic Ossetian, Dzhioyeva says South Ossetia should be independent.
The outcome of the election is unlikely to alter South Ossetia's dependence on Russia as an economic lifeline and military protector of the landlocked region with a population of about 30,000.
NATO aspirant Georgia and Western nations accuse Russia of violating a European Union-brokered ceasefire that ended the 2008 war by maintaining a large military presence in South Ossetia and Abkhazia.
Analysts say Russia is unlikely to absorb South Ossetia anytime soon because it would risk a potentially explosive dispute with the West.
(Reporting by Margarita Antidze, Maria Tsvetkova in Moscow; Editing by Amie Ferris-Rotman and Jon Hemming)
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