Who respects whom in Abkhazia
The “United Abkhazia party, which was regarded as a stronghold of the ruling coalition, has decided to take its own way. The party has announced about its withdrawal from the Coordination Council of political parties and public movements.
“The priority trends of the Coordination Council’s activity, declared to the country’s population, were consigned to oblivion. The executive power imitates teeming activity, but the constitutional reform, as well as reform of the public authorities, are hampered. The executive power’s activity no longer meets public’s requirements, this is the declaration of reasons in a special statement for press, disseminated by the United Abkhazia’s political council.
This decision can be termed as a blow against President Raul Khajimba and the beginning of the coalition’s split. Kind of the “United Abkhazia no longer respects Khajimba and will put a stake on a different person. Yet, I would not hasten to make such a conclusion.
Until recently, traditional Abkhaz vision of politics was really based on a kind of “portrait democracy- which means, it does not matter, what and how a politician says, but it is important who he is. Until now, that rule was determinant and when set up, new political coalitions were not even going to offer any special ideology or their concrete programs. What a political coalition required until recently, was to encircle around a certain person with serious ambitions. It was a norm to be friends “for a politician or to be friends “against a politician.
Such situation existed during Segei Bagapsh’s presidency. He was supported by different organizations, such as the war veterans’ party “Amtsakhara, the public and political union “Aytayra, the backbone of which were intellectuals, and the nomenclature “United Abkhazia with the Independent Trade Unions’ Federation, which had joined it.
It was the same during Alexander Ankvab’s presidency. At that time all political players, whom he did not suit, united under the leads of the Coordination Council of political parties and public movements.
And it happened so until present and under the ruling of the incumbent leader of Abkhazia, Raul Khajimba, who is opposed by a bloc, comprising different oppositional forces, united only by disfavor to Khajimba.
However, it seems that this fifteen-year tradition is coming apart at the seams under a pressure of serious challenges.
First of all, it is related to oil extraction and lifting of embargo on purchase of real estate by Russians. Both points, that Moscow explicitly insists on, have already caused serious differences in the camps, opposing each other – both, in the pro-presidential Coordination Council and in the opposition bloc. These discords will become stronger by a moment, when these issues turn out to be put point-blank (it will happen in the nearest future).
After the country transfers to the mixed election system next year and the parties’ roles in the country’s political life will noticeably increase, grouping according to “portrait sympathies or antipathies will be hardly enough to stay in the game.
A transition to a competition between ideas and principles is inevitable. The “United Abkhazia, that, since its foundation, has always responded to the political market’s conjuncture, has already sensed it.
The accusations against the incumbent authorities, that the political party officially presented as an explanation of the reasons for quitting the coalition, is a stamp that the opposition forces’ bloc articulated with throughout the last years. However, there is a nuance, that changes everything. And, for the first time, that’s the motive. Unlike the opposition, the “United Abkhazia has nothing against personally President Raul Khajimba. It’s his policy that does not suit the party.
- The “United Abkhazia was set up in March 2004 as a public and political union, with the only goal – to nominate a single candidate from the opposition at the 2004 presidential elections. There was a re-run of ballot then and on January 12, 2005, Bagapsh (President)-Khajimba (vice-president) tandem got the majority of votes. The “United Abkhazia became a political party in 2009.