Jan 11, 2005

Abkhazia to re-run disputed vote

Georgia's breakaway province of Abkhazia re-runs October's disputed presidential election on Wednesday, with the result apparently sewn up
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The two main rivals will run as one team, in a Moscow-sponsored compromise.

Sergei Bagapsh and Raul Khadzhimba reached the deal after three months of tension that threatened civil war.

Georgia and the international community do not recognise Abkhazia's independence, and Tbilisi says the vote is illegitimate.

Since the man who opposed Mr Bagapsh and Mr Khadzhimba received only 500 votes in the October election, the outcome is fairly predictable.

If he becomes president, Sergei Bagapsh promises to fight corruption, establish law and order and improve the economy of this impoverished Black Sea province.

He also says that his former rival, pro-Moscow Raul Khadzhimba, will become the vice-president.

This is the Kremlin's solution to the political stand-off, and a way of ensuring that under Sergei Bagapsh, Abkhazia does not move away from Moscow's control.

For years, Russia has been the only lifeline and a major influence on life and politics in the isolated and unrecognised Abkhazia.

So, when official results in October showed that the Abkhaz people voted overwhelmingly against Mr Khadzhimba, Russia imposed economic sanctions and insisted on a re-run.

Tbilisi has condemned Moscow for sending observers to Abkhazia and called on the Kremlin to stop what politicians here say is meddling in Georgia's affairs.

Source: BBC



Related Articles:

Abkhazia To Elect President In New Vote Amid Concerns Over Low Turnout (RFE)
Abkhazia: Another Attempt to elect the Leader (Novosti)
Abkhazia Elects New President in Repeat Polls (Civil.Ge)