Vice president of Abkhazia resigns after fight with local businessman
Vice-president of Abkhazia Vitaly Gabnia held a press conference on 22 August in which he was expected to talk about the activities of the state commission on citizenship, which he heads. Instead, Gabnia made a statement announcing his voluntary resignation as vice-president.
Gabnia said that the reason for his resignation was an incident which took place last Saturday in a Sukhumi restaurant. He was conducting negotiations with a group of local businessmen at the restaurant when one of the participants struck him on the head.
“I have to leave in order to defend my honour,” said Gabnia, adding that “it has nothing to do with political realities.”
What angered him most was that the attacker remains unpunished:
“It turns out that, as a person who thinks and lives according to the law, I find myself vulnerable in this system of lawlessness, where the real power lies in the streets.
“In general, the entire law enforcement system in our country is defeated. When perpetrators are not punished and the innocent are punished, the state is thus being killed. I consider it necessary to resign, since I cannot defend my right and my honour even while in such a high position. It turns out that I am forced to act only ‘as an Abkhazian’, for which I need to resign.”
Gabnia added that, despite his resignation, he will not change his political course. He nevertheless turned to President Raul Khajimba during the press conference with a proposal not to run in the next presidential election, which will take place in August 2019.
• This is the second time in Abkhazia’s political history that the country’s vice-president leaves his post. In December 2013, Vice-President Mikhail Logua, who ran with the then-presidential candidate Alexander Ankvab in 2011, also voluntary resigned.