President Bzhania's failure to meet concerned MPs in Parliament outrages Abkhazia's opposition
Opposition outraged by President Bzhania’s failure to meet MPs
In Abkhazia, the president did not attend a scheduled meeting in parliament. Instead, he met with MPs loyal to him in a government conference room. This caused an outrage among opposition-minded deputies. The opposition is preparing for a new big protest demanding the resignation of Aslan Bzhania.
Initially, parliamentary speaker Valeriy Kvarchia agreed with Aslan Bzhania that the president would come to the People’s Assembly and answer a number of questions that MPs are concerned about. This meeting was supposed to take place on Monday, but due to the heavy workload, the head of state asked to postpone it until Wednesday, December 15.
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However, on the day of the meeting, Aslan Bzhania did not appear in the meeting room of the People’s Assembly, as he made a unilateral decision to meet with the deputies on “his” territory – in the conference hall of the Cabinet of Ministers.
As a result, only 12 (out of a total of 35 parliamentary MPs) loyal to the president attended this event. The rest of the parliamentary corps, led by Speaker Valery Kvarchia, gathered in the parliament building.
They expressed bewilderment that at the last moment the Cabinet was elected as the meeting place, since it was the deputies who invited the head of state to the meeting, and not vice versa.
“We all understand that all branches of power in our country are independent, and the president’s coming here would have been out of his own good will. I just think that in this situation it is, at least, politically incorrect in relation to the legislature. It’s just that we have already moved to another phase, when some of our deputies – supporters of the authorities who support the president – are in another building, and we are here”, Deputy Valeriy Agrba commented on the situation.
Anticipating a protest
Meanwhile, the current, very tense relations between the president and parliament fit well into the internal political context that has developed in Abkhazia.
Opposition has announced a protest to take place on December 21 outside of the presidential palace, during which it will most likely demand the resignation of President Aslan Bzhania. At a meeting with a part of the deputy corps loyal to him, the President criticized the organizers of the protest.
“Some of the organizers of this rally are those who called on people to take arms. There are also people who have joined them. Usually, different categories of citizens are present at such events. Some come sincerely, others are invited, some are trying to benefit from the ssituation, but I would like to warn our citizens against participating in such an event … We have information that some politicians will try to use young people to commit some illegal actions”, said President Bzhania.
Meanwhile, the authorities, concerned about the opposition’s intentions, are preparing to defend the complex of government buildings, which includes the presidential palace. Metal structures have already been brought to the courtyard of the complex. On the eve of the rally, they will be used to fence off the entire quarter where the complex of government buildings is located.