SUKHUM, August 24 (RIA Novosti) – Voter turnout in Abkhazia’s early presidential election has exceeded the required threshold, reaching at least 55 percent, the central election committee said Sunday.
“I can say that the election has been a success. More than 50 percent of voters have already cast their ballots. As of 4 p.m. [13:00 GMT], the turnout has reached almost 56 percent,” CEC head Batal Tabagua told journalists.
The local law requires at least a 50-percent voter turnout for an election to be deemed valid.
Georgia’s former Abkhazian republic, which declared independence in 2008, goes to polls on Sunday after a major split between the government and the opposition triggered a wave of protests across the country forcing president Alexander Ankvab to step down on June 1.
In May, the parliament scheduled an early presidential election for August 24, and elected its spokesman and interim president, Valery Bganba.
There are four candidates running for president: security service chief Aslan Bzhania, ex-Interior Minister Leonid Dzapshba, former Defense Minister Merab Kishmaria and opposition leader Raul Hajimba.
Hajimba, who formerly served as the country’s vice president and prime minister, is tipped to be in the lead, with 51 percent of voters ready to support him, according to an August poll conducted by the Russian Institute of Social Marketing.