A court in the breakaway Georgian region of South Ossetia has annulled the results of a disputed presidential ballot.
Early results showed former education minister Alla Dzhioyeva had won Sunday’s vote, but then her rival, the current emergencies minister, made allegations of electoral violations.
Judges have now ordered new elections in March and called on Dzhioyeva not to stand. But she rejects that.
“The people need to stand up for their right to vote until the end,” she said. “They have shown what their choice is, and now they need to protect this choice. This will mean actions of civil disobedience.”
Both candidates have pro-Kremlin sympathies, with Moscow having recognised South Ossetia after a brief war with Georgia in 2008. But candidate Anatoly Bibilov denies opposition claims that he is directly backed by Moscow.
Russia and only three other countries recognise South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent. Other countries still consider the regions as part of Georgia, which dismisses the recent election as illegitimate.