LEAD: South Ossetia court annuls presidential election result
Nov 29, 2011, 19:29 GMT
Moscow - The supreme court of the breakaway Georgian province of South Ossetia on Tuesday annulled presidential election results that showed victory for opposition candidate Alla Dzhioyeva, after a challenge by her Kremlin-supported opponent.
The court upheld a complaint filed by pro-Russia politician Anatoly Bibliov after preliminary results of Sunday's election showed Dzhioyeva had won, members of her staff told dpa.
The two politicians are vying to become the first president of the territory that Russia recognized as independent after its 2008 war with Georgia.
Thousands of Dzhiyoeva supporters gathered in the capital Tskhinvali as the court reviewed the complaint.
Local news agency Osinform reported that a bill to hold new a new election was being debated.
Preliminary results showed that Dzhioyeva had won 51 per cent of the vote against 46 per cent for Bibiliov, who enjoys support from Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. Bibiliov's defeat would be an embarrassment for Russia.
A Dzhioyeva staffer said she was 'shocked' by the court decision, which may not be appealed.
Dzhiyoeva, a former educator, has been an outspoken critic of the Kremlin-supported South Ossetian government, which she has alleged is riddled with corruption. She is one of very few women to become an influential politician in the highly traditional Caucasus region.
A South Ossetia court in 2010 found Dzhioyeva guilty of abuse of office while acting as the territory's education minister, a ruling she has described as unfounded and politically-motivated.
Most nations consider South Ossetia a province of Georgia, but the territory has been outside Tbilisi's control since the mid-1990s.
Russia's army routed Georgian forces in a five-day war over the territory in 2008.