TBILISI // A former KGB chief scored a victory in the run-off presidential election in Georgia's breakaway province of South Ossetia that has been roiled by a political crisis over presidential succession.
A full vote count showed Leonid Tibilov won with 54.1 per cent of the vote, the election commission secretary, Irina Gassiyeva, said. His rival, David Sanakoyev, trailed with 42.6 per cent and conceded the race.
Mr Tibilov, 60, is a former KGB officer who became South Ossetia's security minister in 1992, shortly after the province broke away from Georgia in a war.
As the armed conflict between pro-Russian separatists and the central Georgian government simmered in the 1990s, Mr Tibilov held several top government jobs, including that of a deputy prime minister.
Spiralling tensions between Georgia and South Ossetia triggered the August 2008 war, in which Russian troops routed the Georgian military in five days of fighting. The war sent Moscow's ties with the West to Cold War levels.
Russia's recognition of South Ossetia and another breakaway Georgian region, Abkhazia, remains a source of tensions between Moscow and Washington. Only a handful of other countries have recognised the independence of the separatist provinces.
Mr Tibilov told the Voice of Russia radio station he will push for greater integration with Russia.