South Ossetia Election Turnout over 50%: Election Commission
The election can be considered effective since more than 50% of the total number of voters participated.
According to the official electoral commission, the turnout in the breakaway republic of South Ossetia's presidential election on Sunday exceeded 50%.
In the republic and overseas, 76 voting stations opened at 08:00 local time [05:00 GMT] on Sunday. The polls will close at 20:00.
Anatoly Bibilov, the incumbent president of the breakaway republic, is standing for president against Alan Gagloev, the leader of the Nykhas opposition group, former lawmaker Dmitry Tasoev, politician Garry Muldarov, and deputy parliament speaker Alexander Pliev.
The voting will be monitored by international observers from Abkhazia, Austria, Italy, Russia, the People's Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk, Venezuela, Syria, the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh, Nicaragua, and Turkey.
To win the first round of the election, one of the candidates must earn more than half of the votes.
According to Russian monitors, there were no irregularities during the election today.
Following a Georgian army incursion in August 2008, South Ossetia and another breakaway province, Abkhazia, declared independence from Georgia. Tskhinvali, the capital of South Ossetia, was bombed, forcing inhabitants to evacuate the area.
Russia has backed South Ossetia and Abkhazia, both of which had a majority of Russian residents. Georgia has never recognized the republics' independence and continues to regard them as part of its own territory.
South Ossetia Russia accession referendum to be ready by May-June
Tskhinvali could complete a referendum on South Ossetia's accession to Russia in May or June, Yuri Vazagov, the head of the information and analytical administration, told Sputnik on Saturday.
"Certain dates were tentatively named, probably in May-June. I think that the preparation will be possibly completed within these terms," Vazagov said.
In late March, the head of the breakaway republic of South Ossetia, Anatoly Bibilov, said his country's unification with Russia was its strategic goal, path, and aspiration of the people.
"We will take the relevant legislative steps shortly. The republic of South Ossetia will be part of its historical homeland - Russia," he stressed.
According to the speaker of the breakaway republic's Parliament, South Ossetia has all the necessary legal grounds to join Russia.
The referendum will take place at the request of South Ossetian President Anatoly Bibilov when he said the territory would work on becoming part of Russia in the near future.