Abkhazian president gets full control of parliament as 'pro-president' MPs take majority of seats
Authorities get control over parliament in Abkhazia
In Abkhazia, following the results of two rounds of parliamentary elections, the government has won a ‘loyal’ parliament. For the president, such a clear control of legislators can become a big problem.
Elections in Abkhazia are held according to the majoritarian system, and, according to an established tradition, most of its participants initially position themselves as independent candidates.
Nevertheless, true allegiances of MP candidates have never been a secret.
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Of the 33 deputies elected to the new of the People’s Assembly (there are 35 seats in parliament, second round of elections was held in two districts), at the moment only six or seven deputies can be considered independent from the executive branch.
This number is so negligible that all those forces that can be conditionally classified as the camp of the parliamentary minority, due to their small numbers, are even deprived of the ability to potentially block a bill.
In turn, supporters of the current government can easily pass any law in parliament, including the constitutional one, for the adoption of which 24 votes are required.
There has not been such mathematics in the parliament of Abkhazia since the time of the first president, Vladislav Ardzinba.
For today’s Abkhazia, which is going through a protracted political and socio-economic crisis, the situation when the executive and legislative branches of are acting as one is expedient only in one case, if President Aslan Bzhaniya assumes responsibility for carrying out systemic reforms.
Everyone has been waiting for these transformations, they have been discussed for the last ten years during each election campaign. The last two Abkhazian presidents – the previous Raul Khadjimba and the current Aslan Bzhaniya – came to power under reformist slogans.
However, those changes are yet to occur.
Until now, one of the reasons for the inaction was considered to be the constant confrontation between the government and parliament.
But now this antagonism is gone. Does this mean that the reformers have everything to start implementing long-awaited changes?
But there are big doubts that the authorities assembled the ‘ultra-loyal’ parliament for reforms, the ultimate goal of which would be to bring Abkhazia to a higher level of development.
Hypothetically, it is possible, of course, under the guise of reforms to remove, for example, the existing moratorium on oil production.
But if all the profit from this undertaking ends up in offshore accounts of individuals in the government, and only crumbs get into the budget, then even a blind person will understand that this is not a reform, but only a banal plunder of national resources.
I usually call such projects “khachapured”.
I would love to be wrong, but I have a strong premonition that the current parliament was recruited to solve, first of all, the above-mentioned “khachapuri” cases.
However, the situation for the National Assembly is not new. Solving “their” issues within its walls has long become a habitual occupation.
But the fact is that until now, it has never acquired a systemic character. Small gesheft did not threaten national security. And the presence of political diversity in the parliament of the previous convocations became an insurmountable obstacle to issues that could become a threat to national sovereignty.
For example, there is a strong belief in Abkhazian society that a number of issues lobbied by Moscow for many years threaten national security. In particular, this refers to the lifting of the ban on the acquisition of real estate in Abkhazia by foreigners.
Parliament, in such matters, has always been guided by public opinion and did not cross any red lines.
In this aspect, the leadership of Abkhazia was very comfortable with such a principled deputies. It was always possible to explain to the Kremlin officials the impossibility of advancing Moscow’s interest by stubborn position of the parliament.
Now, when the parliament, figuratively speaking, has become a subdivision of the executive branch, such argument will no longer be valid.
This will be a problem not only for the authorities themselves, but also for the Abkhazian statehood.
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