Aslan Bzhania was initially considered the favorite in the elections, now the opposition demands the elections be rescheduled from July 21 to the autumn" />

Abkhaz parliament confirms opposition leader was poisoned, presidential elections may be rescheduled

Aslan Bzhania was initially considered the favorite in the elections, now the opposition demands the elections be rescheduled from July 21 to the autumn

The parliament of Abkhazia has confirmed that the leader of the Abkhaz opposition Aslan Bzhania was indeed poisoned.

Parliament made the announced after a meeting on May 16, which considered an official examination of Bzhania.

The message has caused a strong public reaction and statements from leading political and public figures.

The opposition has demanded the presidential elections scheduled for July 21 be postponed until the fall.

Aslan Bzhania has been in a serious condition in a Moscow hospital since April 19. His respiratory system is impaired and he cannot speak. Two days after his hospitalization, two of his bodyguards were brought in with similar signs of the disease, although not in such severe form. His bodyguards were discharged from the hospital, but continue treatment. However, there are no predictions as to when Bzhania can leave the hospital.

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One of Aslan Bzhania’s relatives sent samples to a laboratory in Munich for an analysis – the following report noted the presence of a large dose of mercury and aluminum and in his blood.

The analysis were made after Bzhania underwent two rounds of blood purification procedures, which means that the initial indicators were close to critical.

The clinic in Moscow where Bzhania was hospitalized said he is suffering from pneumonia.

Bzhania will likely now be taken to a German clinic.

Almost all experts agree that the only motive to poison Aslan Bzhania could be the intention not to allow him to take part in the presidential election campaign of Abkhazia, which began on May 21, in which he was initially considered one of the favorites.

A group of well-known Abkhaz politicians and public figures addressed an open letter to law enforcement agencies demanding an immediate investigation into the circumstances of the poisoning of Aslan Bzhania and his two bodyguards.

The statement was signed by ex-speaker of the parliament Sokrat Jinjolia, former head of the presidential administration Astamur Tania, former vice-president of Abkhazia Mikhail Logua, prominent public figures Liana Kvarchelia and Arda Inal-ipa, and others.

“Aslan Bzhania is not only a member of the Abkhaz parliament, but also the leader of the opposition and its official candidate for the post of head of state. Therefore, the theory that some forces are trying in a criminal way to eliminate one of the leading politicians from participating in the elections requires a thorough investigation”, the statement said.

The authors of the statement also suggest that the parliament convene an emergency meeting and invite representatives of all the leading political forces and the public of Abkhazia to participate to discuss the current situation.

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