Will Abkhaz Opposition Hit the Street?
President Raul Khajimba seems to be concerned that the internal political crisis in Abkhazia could lead to street protests. Anyway, that’s how his proposal to establish the Political Advisory Board, comprising the leaders of all political organizations, including the opposition, looks like.
The main opposition force – ‘Amtsakhara’ party, has already shifted to a categorical conversation style. A resolution demanding Khajimba’s resignation was passed at the most recent party congress, on 21 October. He was also warned about the readiness to declare a nationwide assembly. The opposition, the backbone of which mainly comprises the supporters of former President, Alexander Ankvab, above all, places the blame on the current president for aggravation of the socio-economic situation in the country just within a year of his ruling. They claim, there has been regress in all spheres and, as they put it, a team of amateurs, has come to power.
The President, in turn, has blamed the opposition for the current critical situation in the country. In his words, a huge cartload of problems, that has brought Abkhazia to a deep socio-political crisis, turning the state into a chronic dependents with huge debts, thoroughly corrupt bureaucracy and collapsed economy – is the legacy left by the previous government. ‘Now, as they’ve become the opposition, they have forgotten, who so recklessly brought the country to a such a desperate state,’ – said Khajimba.
President’s idea on setting up the Advisory Board has been supported by the majority of MPs and the civil society itself. Natella Akaba, the Secretary of the Abkhaz Public Chamber, offered politicians the Public Chamber’s platform for such a public dialogue, because ‘the president would rather meet with representatives of the opposition political parties in public and not behind the scenes.’
The opposition has quite openly ignored the President’s initiative. None of its leaders have commented on it, as if there has not been any proposal at all. Opposition says behind the scenes that Khajimba is not negotiable. In this regard, ‘Amtsakhara’ is going to propose collecting signatures for conducting a referendum on the authorities’ credibility. 10 thousand signatures should be collected to conduct the referendum.
‘Amtsakhara’ party appeared on the Abkhaz political scene in 1999, as a socio-political movement of the veterans of war with Georgia. Initially supporting President Sergey Bagapsh and then Alexander Ankvab, who came to power after Bagapsh’s death, ‘Amtsakhara’ was considered for decade to be the mainstay of the authorities. At its congresses in 2013, ‘Amtsakhara’ was transformed into a political party. Under its new statutes, the party now can include not only war veterans, but also any citizen sharing its ideas. Following resignation of President Ankvab as a result of many-thousand rally of then-opposition, headed by Raul Khajimba, in May 2014, ‘Amtsakhara’ turned from the “authorities’ party’ into opposition.