South Ossetia President Eduard Kokoity called on the nation and deputies for unity on Thursday after a fracas took place in the South Ossetian parliament.
On Monday, Kokoity, who is serving his second presidential term, said he would not run for presidency at the upcoming presidential elections to be held in November 2011. On Tuesday, the country's Supreme Court ruled that the same person may not serve three presidential terms in succession.
An incident which witnesses described as "a bitter dispute" occurred in the parliament on Wednesday. A group of people angered by the Supreme Court's decision, mainly members of the State Security Service and the Defense Ministry, attempted to argue the ruling. As a result, a heated discussion broke out.
"Today I am addressing my request to you to refrain from any campaigns or initiatives in support of me in the capacity of a presidential candidate," Kokoity said on his official webpage.
"I will need your support after the elections as I am not going to leave the political arena, I'll remain here with you, and keep on serving our Motherland."
Kokoity emphasized that South Ossetia should demonstrate to the world that it is a free democratic country. "And we should be together in this."
South Ossetia is a breakaway region of Georgia, recognized only by Russia and a handful of other states. It gained de facto independence after a separatist war with Georgia in 1992.