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Three to Run for Abkhazia ‘Presidency’

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Three candidates will run for “presidency” of occupied Abkhazia on March 22. “President” and “Vice President” will be elected simultaneously for the term of five years. Thus, the region’s “election administration” also registered three vice presidential candidates.

The three to run for Abkhazia “presidency” are:

  1. Adgur Ardzinba (38) – “Economy Minister” since 2015, who also serves as “Vice Prime Minister” since December 2019;
  2. Aslan Bzhania (56) – Opposition MP and head of Apra foundation, served as head of the Abkhaz “security service” from 2010 to 2014;
  3. Leonid Dzapshba (60) – leader of Akzaara party; served as “interior minister” twice in 2010-2016.

The three to run for “vice precidency” are: Arda Ashuba, Badra Gunba and Victor Khashba, respectively.

Raul Khajimba, Moscow-backed Abkhazia’s leader resigned the post of the “president” on January 12, amid protest demanding his resignation. Noteworthy, that Khajimba’s resignation announcement came only after the arrival of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s then aide Vladislav Surkov in Sokhumi earlier that day.

Earlier that day, Abkhazia’s “election administration” announced repeat presidential polls to take place on March 22. The announcement came two days after “the appeals chamber” of the “supreme court” ruled that the results of September 8 “presidential runoff” were invalid. The decision of the “court” came a day after the mob stormed Khajimba’s office.

Khajimba had won in the second round by garnering 47.38% of votes, while opposition’s Alkhas Kvitsinia, leader of “Amtsakhara” party received 46.19%. The latter filed the lawsuit at the “supreme court” of the occupied region, demanding annulment of the results of the September 8 “runoff polls.” Kvitsinia claimed that Khajimba had failed to garner over 50% of the votes as demanded by the procedures, however, he lost an appeal in late September, and later filed the lawsuit with same demand at “the board of cassation” of the “supreme court”.

Aslan Bzhania and Leonid Dzapshba both ran for “presidency” in 2019 as well. However, the former was poisoned with heavy metals in April and had to withdrew from race due to his illness. Bzhania was Khajimba’s key rival during the 2014 “presidential polls” as well.

Elections in Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions are denounced as illegitimate by Tbilisi and the international community, except of Russia and four other countries (Nauru, Venezuela, Syria and Nicaragua), which have recognized the two regions’ independence from Georgia.

This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)

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