Abkhazia Holds Presidential Election

Posted August 26th, 2011 at 11:10 am (UTC-5)
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Voters in the Georgian breakaway region of Abkhazia cast their ballots for a new president on Friday.

The winner replaces President Sergei Bagapsh, who died in May.

The election was held three years to the day Moscow recognized Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states.

Much of the West and Tbilisi maintain that both regions are still part of Georgia's sovereign territory.

The candidates include acting President Alexander Ankvab, Prime Minister Sergei Shamba and Raul Khajimba of the opposition Forum of the National Unity of Abkhazia.

If no candidate gets more than 50 percent of the vote, a run-off election will be held in two weeks.

Georgian lawmakers have declared the presidential election by Abkhazia illegitimate.

Russia and Georgia fought a short but brutal war over the region in 2008, and Russia still has thousands of soldiers stationed in Abkhazia.