Abkhazia: move the presidential elections so as not to scare away tourists
A proposal has been put forward in Abkhazia to hold presidential elections three months earlier than planned – in April instead of in August 2019.
The idea was put forward by the head of the Sukhum city assembly, Konstantin Pilia, who said that the aim of his proposal was to ensure that the “anxiety [caused by the election campaign] does not harm the tourist season”. Should his proposal gain momentum and be accepted, the president would be inaugurated on 27 May 2019.
This date is symbolic in Abkhazia. Five years ago on 27 May 2014, thousands of people led by the then-opposition leader Raul Khajimba (the current president of Abkhazia) stormed the presidential palace. The then-president Alexander Ankvab was forced to resign early.
Pilia says that moving the presidential elections would be beneficial for all. Tourism is the main source of income for many families, and summer, especially August, is the most important time for work.
None of the addressees of Pilia’s proposal – the president, parliament or political parties – have answered as yet. However, social media users have responded strongly, and mostly negatively, to the idea.
Some were annoyed by what seems like a proposal to do away with the importance and amount of energy needed for the presidential elections in favour of private business.
Others were outraged by the idea of perpetuating the date of 27 May 2014 which is still an event that is more divisive among the public than it is uniting.
Many also felt that the head of the city council does not have the right to come up with such a proposal, since this goes beyond the scope of his responsibilities.