Abkhazia: Whom to elect for president?

Abkhazia Elections 2019

By Eleonora Giloyan | Sukhum | JAM News

It’s getting hotter in Abkhazia – and not just because it’s summer. It’s election season. 

Presidential elections are scheduled for August 25, but most experts agree there is likely to be a second round of voting.

Candidate registration began on June 26, but leading candidates have long made public their intention to run. 

JAMnews looks at the the main candidates for the presidency of Abkhazia.

The main fight will be between the opposition and the incumbent president Raul Khajimba, who has on several occasions spoken about his intention to run for a second term. 

Opposition leader Aslan Bzhania received the nomination of the bloc of opposition forces and will also take part in the elections – if he is able to: he is considered the favorite of the race, but since April 2019 he has been hospitalized in a German clinic. The opposition and civil sector say he was poisoned. 

However, the opposition probably has a substitute candidate for Bzhania should he not recover to participate in the elections. Officially, this will be decided at the congress of Amtsakhara, the largest opposition party that unites veterans from war with Georgia. 

Social media users have been speculating that chairman of the party, Alkhas Kvitsinia, may be nominated. It is possible that both Bzhania and Kvitsinia will be nominated for the elections.

We can expect the appearance of another opposition candidate, since former president and the heavyweight of Abkhaz politics Alexander Ankvab has not yet declared his own man in the race.

Many of his supporters today support the candidacy of Bzhania. But it can be expected that Ankvab will still nominate his candidate – and then, most likely, Bzhania will lose the support of some of his supporters

Less well-known, but promising figures

The former head of the state security service Astamur Tarba was the first to come out with his intention to run for president back in March. He has been absent in the public political space since 2004.

Independent MP Almas Japua has also announced his candidacy. For the past ten years, he has been extremely active in politics – but he is the only potential candidate who has never held public office.

The media speculates that the current mayor of Sukhum Adgur Kharazia may also become a candidate.

Former Vice PM Shamil Adzinba and ex-Minister of the Interior Leonid Dzapshba will also likely run.

The next president of Abkhazia will be elected for a term of five years. An individual cannot hold the post for more than two consecutive terms. This will be the seventh presidential election in Abkhazia. The sixth snap presidential elections were held in August 2014 after mass protests that forced the then President Alexander Ankvab to resign early.

Read more: JAM News




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