17 Runoffs in Abkhazia as Tbilisi Condemns Vote

Some 51.2% of around 130,000 eligible voted in occupied Abkhazia on March 12 to elect 35-member legislature for a five-year term, according to local media.

17 candidates scored first round victories while 17 seats will be contested in runoffs. Repeat vote will be held for one seat within two months.

A total of 123 candidates were running for 35 single-mandate majoritarian seats. Of the amount, political parties had named fifteen in total. Pro-government Amtsakhara party named 8, Apsny and the Party of Economic Development of Abkhazia – 2 each; People’s Party of Abkhazia and People’s Front of Abkhazia for Justice and Development named 1 each.

Amtsakhara, allied with incumbent Abkhaz leader Aslan Bzhania, managed to win one seat in the first round. Five of its candidates will contend in runoffs, while two failed to gather enough votes.

None of the other parties won any seats or move their candidates into runoffs, continuing the trend of the domination of individual politicians, rather than parties over the Abkhaz legislature.

Also, out of 18 incumbent lawmakers running for re-election, 7 scored first-round victories, and five will compete in the runoffs.

Elections in Abkhazia are considered illegitimate by Tbilisi, as well as the most of international community except Russia and the several states that recognize the independence of the occupied region.

Some 260,000 ethnic Georgians, that made the largest ethnic group in pre-war Abkhazia, remain uprooted from their homes.

Further, some 30,000 ethnic Georgians in Abkhaz-controlled Gali district are not allowed to vote after being stripped of the Abkhaz passports in 2014 and 2017.

See below the full the results, as reported by Sokhumi-based Apsnypress news agency:

First Round Victories:

District #5 (Sokhumi city)

  • Lasha Ashuba, incumbent lawmaker — 98.42%; sole contender for the seat

District #9 (Sokhumi city)

  • Kan Kvarchia, independent candidate, leader of opposition group Aidgilara — 53.74%

District #10 (Bichvinta)

  • Daut Khutaba — 98.27%; sole contender

District #11 (Bzipi)

  • Timur Beia, incumbent lawmaker — 77.56%

District #12 (Gagra)

  • Astamur Arshba, incumbent lawmaker — 51.15%

District #14 (Gantiadi) 

  • Galust Trapizonyan, Amtsakhara party – 96.65%

District #16 (Duripshi)

  • Beslan Khalvash, former director of communications administration — 70.09%

District #17 (Likhni)

  • Aslan Lakoba — 63.49%

District #19 (Gudauta town)

  • Alkhas Khagba, incumbent lawmaker — 58.48%

District  #23 (Gumista)

  • Levon Galustyan, incumbent lawmaker — 52.69%

District  #24 (Pshapi)

  • Ashot Minosyan, incumbent lawmaker — 64.57%

District  #25 (Machara)

  • Inar Sadzba — 50.89%

District  #26 (Dranda)

  • Adgur Kharazia, former mayor of occupied Sokhumi — 50.28%

District  #27 (Beslakhuba)

  • Venori Bebia, incumbent lawmaker — 65.85%

District #30 (Kutoli)

  • Vakhtangi Golandzia — 58.02%

District  #31 (Kindgi)

District  #35 (Gali)

  • Temur Shergelia — 52.61%


District  #1 (Sokhumi city)

  • Inar Gitsba — 44.13%
  • Gunda Kvitsinia — 29.7%

District  #2 (Sokhumi city)

  • Dmitry Khalbad — 47.02%
  • Astamur Gerkhelia, Amtsakhara party — 40.66%

District #3 (Sokhumi city)

  • Narsou Salakaia — 40.74%
  • Khyna Dumava — 24.12%

District  #4 (Sokhumi city)

  • Batal Aiba, incumbent MP — 23.9%
  • Eric Rshtuni — 21.4%

District  #6 (Sokhumi city)

  • Dmitry Marshania — 40.64%
  • Raul Lolua, incumbent lawmaker — 18.06%

District  #7 (Sokhumi city)

  • Amiran Kakalia — 23.69%
  • Rashida Aiba — 17.88%

District  #8 (Sokhumi city)

  • Naur Narmania — 25.7%
  • Leon Gubaz — 23.68%

District  #13 (Gagra city)

  • Alkhas Bartsits — 48.79%
  • Revaz Benia — 20.89%

District  #15 (Otkhara)

  • Badrik Pilia — 33.72%
  • Almaskhan Bartsits, incumbent lawmaker — 32.41%

District #20 (Aatsi) 

  • Alisa Gularia, Amtsakhara party — 31.5%
  • Rustam Markholia — 23.67%

District #21 (Akhali Atoni) 

  • Natalie Smyr, incumbent lawmaker — 47.25%
  • Akhra Pachulia — 42.61%

District  #22 (Eshera)

  • Almaskhan Ardzinba, incumbent lawmaker — 45.2%
  • Fazlibey Avidzba — 30.57%

District  #28 (Gupi) 

  • Demur Gogia — 32.71%
  • Tengiz Kakubava, Amtsakhara party — 29.02%

District  #29 (Chlou) 

  • Almas Akaba, Amtsakhara party — 43.71%
  • Astamur Tarba, incumbent lawmaker — 32.85%

District  #32 (Ochamchire)

  • Batal Jopua — 42.84%
  • Eshsou Kakalia — 25.82%

District  #33 (Tkvarcheli) 

  • Beslan Emurkhba, Amtsakhara party — 44.3%
  • Damir Gorzolia — 26.25%

District #34 (Tkvarcheli) 

  • German Kacharava — 43.93%
  • Temur Tkebuchava — 28.21%

Repeat Vote

District #18 (Gudauta town)

  • Leonid Lakerbaia, former “prime minister”
  • Beslan Tarkil

Sokhumi-based Apsnypress reported that Lakerbaia fell one vote short of securing a first-round victory. As per Abkhaz legislation, because there were only two candidates running for the seat, there will be a repeat vote held in the constituency, instead of the runoff.

Tbilisi Condemns the Vote

“These so-called elections fully contradict the fundamental norms and principles of international law and represent yet another futile attempt to legitimize the ongoing illegal occupation of the two regions being integral parts of Georgia,” the Foreign Ministry of Georgia stated on March 12.

It stressed the vote cannot have any legal effect, “while hundreds of thousands of internally displaced persons and refugees are expelled from the Abkhazia region as a result of ethnic cleansing and the Russian occupying power exercises an effective control on the ground.”

“The Russian Federation continues actual annexation of Georgia’s occupied territories through their integration into Russia’s military, political, economic and social system,” the Foreign Ministry said.

The Ministry stressed the already difficult situation was also exacerbated by “the gross violation of the fundamental rights and freedoms of the population on the ground and discrimination of Georgians on ethnic lines.”

The Reconciliation Ministry of Georgia, tasked with ocerseeing occupied regions, said on March 13 that the polls cannot reflect the will of the people amid the “ongoing occupation and steps aimed at de facto annexation, and also while the majority of local population are internally displaced.”

Int’l community denounces polls

“We recall that the European Union does not recognize the constitutional and legal framework in which they took place,” EU Ambassador Carl Hartzell reacted to the polls on March 12.

“The European Union supports the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Georgia, as recognized by international law,” the Ambassador said.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Embassy stated that “the United States does not recognize the legitimacy of the so-called parliamentary elections held in Georgia’s Abkhazia region on March 12 and will not acknowledge their outcome.”

“Our position on Abkhazia and South Ossetia remains clear: these regions are integral parts of Georgia,” the statement highlighted.

“Especially given Russia’s unprovoked, unjustified, and brutal war of choice in Ukraine, it is more important than ever to stand up for these fundamental principles,” the U.S. Embassy noted.

“NATO does not recognize the legitimacy of the elections which took place on Saturday in the Georgian region of Abkhazia. The Alliance continues to support Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders,” said today NATO’s Special Representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia Javier Colomina on Twitter.

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


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