Twice-Postponed ‘Local Elections’ Held in Abkhazia

Russian-occupied Abkhazia held local self-governance elections on April 11 to elect local councils for a four-year term. The “elections” were previously postponed twice, first due to the repeat presidential vote of March 2020, and then the worsening COVID-19 situation.

Sokhumi-based Apsnypress news agency reported that some 270 candidates contested 179 seats in self-governance councils.

According to Apsnypress, the highest voter turnout was recorded in the ethnic Georgian majority Gali district, with 58% of some 900 eligible voters showing up at the polling stations. Noteworthy that some 30,000 ethnic Georgian residents in Gali district are deprived of voting rights as they were stripped of “Abkhaz citizenship” in 2014 and 2017.

Meanwhile, the vote were declared invalid in four out of 19 constituencies in Sokhumi, the regional capital, because of low voter turnout, below required 25%, according to reports. Repeat elections are expected to be held no later than two months.

Preliminary results are expected to be announced later today.

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.

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