Occupied Abkhazia’s Legislature Complete After Runoff

Russian-occupied Abkhazia’s 35-member legislature has been completed as Naur Narmania secured a five-year majoritarian seat in a repeat runoff held on June 11.

Apsnypress news agency reported that in the run for a seat in district #8 in Sokhumi, the region’s chief town, Narmania secured 1,149 votes (52.2%), while his opponent, Leon Gubaz, received 1,054 votes (47.8%).

Narmania and Gubaz advanced to the runoff after they received 776 (34.43%) and 695 (30.83%) votes, respectively in the first round of the repeat vote on May 28. The repeat vote on its part was slated after Narmania and Gubaz both received the same amount of votes in the second round of the “parliamentary elections” on March 26.

31-year-old Narmania, the mathematician hailing from Tkvarcheli town, has previously expressed sympathies with former Abkhaz leader Raul Khajimba.

In the new legislature, which convened on April 12, current Abkhaz leader Aslan Bzhania is said to have at least 25 loyal deputies, an unusual make-up for the Abkhaz legislature where independent majoritarians have traditionally trumped political parties.

Tbilisi, along with most of the international community, regards the polls as illegitimate. Exceptions include Russia and several nations that recognize the independence of the occupied region.

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

An additional 30,000 ethnic Georgians residing in the Abkhaz-controlled Gali district do not have the right to vote after being stripped of Abkhaz passports in 2014 and 2017.

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