Abkhaz parliament against rescheduling elections for autumn, opposition promises protests
Hundreds of people came out to the parliament building in Sukhum on May 20 in order to demand the body reschedule presidential elections from July 21 to autumn.
Supporters of the united opposition candidate, Aslan Bzhania, who is currently in hospital due to poisoning, say that he will not have recovered in time for the elections to be held.
In the afternoon, a session of parliament was held on this issue. MPs discussed the issue of postponing the election date against the background of the rally. There were several clashes between supporters of the government and the opposition, but they were quickly broken up.
Following the discussion, the majority of MPs voted not to postpone the elections.
Instead of finding a new candidate, the opposition promises ongoing protests.
To decide to postpone the presidential election until the fall – which would mean the automatic extension of the powers of the current President Raul Khajimba – the support of two thirds of the parliamentarians was needed, that is, 22 out of 35 votes were needed.
But only 14 MPs voted for the idea of postponing the elections.
Officially, the presidential election campaign period of Abkhazia will start on May 21.
It is now clear that one of the recognized favorites of the presidential race – Aslan Bzhania – will not be able to participate.
He was poisoned a month ago, show the results of an examination presented to parliament on May 16.
One of Bzhania’s relatives sent analyses to a Munich laboratory. The report send back indicated the presence of a large dose of metals in his blood, in particular, mercury and aluminum. They could not appear there on their own, doctors say.
It is also significant that these analyses were made after two blood purification procedures – this means that the initial indicators were close to critical.
The united opposition intends to continue to demand the postponement of the elections from May 21 to autumn. Some opposition supporters personally accuse President Raul Khajimba of poisoning Aslan Bzhania.
However, there is no direct or indirect evidence of the guilt of the authorities in the poisoning.
On May 20, the President of Abkhazia Raul Khajimba made a statement about the non-involvement of the authorities in the attempted assassination of Aslan Bzhania:
“The opposition, or several separate representatives of the opposition, imagines the authorities are involved in this. I am not going to make excuses and I am not going to prove the opposite. There are corresponding prosecution authorities, and if someone has any data, they must appear [in the prosecutor’s office] and specifically call things by their proper names.”