08/30/2004, 00.00
RUSSIA - CHECHNYA
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Violations mar Chechen elections, pro-Russia candidate leading

Grozny (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Kremlin-backed Chechen Interior Minister Alu Alkhanov is leading the polls in yesterday's presidential elections. With 84% of the ballots counted, Alkhanov has received 75% of the vote.

Other candidates allege serious irregularities and violations. Abdullah Bugayev, one of the seven candidates on the ballot, complained that in some polling stations Alkhanov campaign workers ordered people to vote for their candidate. A representative of another candidate, Movsur Khamidov, said he found ballot boxes at a polling place stuffed shortly after the station opened.

Elections were held to replace President Akhmad Kadyrov, who was killed last May in an attack claimed by separatists.

The Organisation for Cooperation and security in Europe (OCSE) refused to send observers to verify the legality of the elections claiming that Russia's military presence is an evident sign of the lack of both legality and democracy in the Caucasus Republic.

Chechen elections came a few days after the terrorist attacks of August 24 which downed two Russian civil aircrafts killing the 89 people on board. According to Russian authorities the attacks were the work of Chechen female suicide terrorists. (LF)

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