Abkhazia continues to debate legitimacy of president elected in fall 2019
Disputes about the results of the autumn 2019 presidential election in Abkhazia continue: the Court of Cassation, which was to make the final decision concerning the legitimacy of President Raul Khajimba was adjourned at the request of the president’s lawyers until January 9.
The opposition disputes the results of the presidential election, believing that Raul Khajimba who won did not receive the necessary number of votes: 50% + 1 of the total number of voters.
The opposition lost the first round in court. In October 2019, the Supreme Court ruled that the CEC decision recognizing Raul Khajimba as president was legal. But opposition representatives believe that they have good chances in a court of cassation.
On December 19, the leader of the opposition Aslan Bzhania flew to Moscow specifically for the sake of this cassation court hearing, interrupting rehabilitation procedures for one day.
Aslan Bzhania was supposed to be the candidate from the united opposition in the presidential election in Abkhazia in August 2018, but he was suddenly hospitalized in a very serious condition with symptoms of heavy metal poisoning.
Bzhania himself and his supporters are sure that this was an attempt to poison him in order to remove him from the presidential race. Although never directly stated, there is speculation about President of Abkhazia Raul Khajimba’s participation in the affair, since he was the main rival of Bzhania in the elections.
As a result, instead of him, the leader of the opposition Amtsakhara party Alkhas Kvitsinia took part in the race.
In the second round of elections, Kvitsinia won 46% of the vote. Incumbent president Raul Khajimba received 47%. The CEC recognized Khajimba as the new president. However, Kvitsinia appealed against the decision to the Supreme Court. The opposition, including Aslan Bzhania, claims that according to the law, this result means that nobody won the election, and the vote must be held again.
The opposition hopes that the court will ultimately take its side, and new presidential elections will be scheduled Abkhazia.
This time around, the candidate from the opposition would be Aslan Bzhania.
The plaintiff, the chairman of the Amtsakhara party Alkhas Kvitsinia, the MP of the parliament Aslan Bzhaniya, the leader of the United Abkhazia party Sergey Shamba, and representatives of the public attended the court session.
From the very beginning, a dispute arose around Judge Roman Kvarchia. The lawyer of the plaintiff, Inga Gabilaia, demanded his recusal, saying that his term in judicial office had expired a few weeks earlier.
However, the court took the side of Raul Khajimba, having ruled that the judge has the right to continue his powers until the end of the consideration of the case, initiated with his participation, and closed the meeting until January at the request of the defendant.