Jul 22, 2011

Abkhazia: Presidential Election Campaigns Begin

Abkhazia demonstrates democratic strength as election campaigns begin in Abkhazia

Below is an article published by The Voice of Russia:

The three candidates who were nominated on Sunday [17/07/2011] are the incumbent vice president, Alexander Ankwaba, Prime Minister Sergei Shamba and opposition leader Raul Hazhimba. The snap poll in Abkhazia, caused by the death of the former head of state, Sergei Bagapsh in Moscow at the end of May, is on August 26. The Abkhaz parliament has invited Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Armenia, Azerbaijan,  Turkey, Northern Cyprus, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Belarus as  well  as the Inter Parliamentary Assembly of the Euro-Asian Economic Union to monitor the election.

Election campaign starts today, July 18 with the  publication of the programme of the candidates, after which the chances of each of them can be analyzed, says Arda Inal-Ipa of the Center of Humanitarian Programme of Abkhazia, who  spoke to VOR in an interview:

“It is politically significant for Abkhazia that each  poll, this being the third, is always characterized by uncertainty. It is evidence of a truly evolving civil society where the electors freely choose their president. The three contesting candidates are well known public figures, but regrettably, no new faces have emerged on the horizon of the young republic. It’s the same old faces that we have seen since 2004. Of course, they are experienced politicians and the voters know  well what they can do, but it is difficult to pick the best from the three contestants in terms of solving the arduous economic problems  the republic faces. Whoever wins on August 26 will undoubtedly work hard to further improve ties with Russia, thanks to which Abkhazia is today an independent country."

Russia is watching closely the political developments in a neighbouring state and in an  interview for VOR,  Maria  Lazutova, head of the office of the State Duma’s Committee for CIS affairs and links with compatriots had this to say:

“Russia sees Abkhazia as a  friendly and predictable state, and that was why Russia was the first to recognize its independence. Russia would like to see Abkhazia a stable country with a strong economy, and most importantly, a nation whose independence is recognized by more countries”, said Lazutova.

After the sad events of August 2008, Abkhazia became an important element for stability in the region, and Russia backs it in its new role. Russian and Abkhaz officials are presently discussing the possibility of making the airport in Sukhumi a standby  airport during the Sochi Olympic Games in 2014.