Mar 20, 2007

Abkhazia: Elects New Parliament

Successful runoffs conclude the latest Parliamentary elections following inconclusive first round ballots in 17 Constituencies.

Below is an article published by Reuters;

Georgia's breakaway region of Abkhazia elected a new parliament in a run-off vote at the weekend, the region's government said on Monday, 19th March.

All members of the new parliament back Abkhazia's split from Georgia and its drive to gain international recognition -- a campaign many believe could be boosted if the United Nations grants independence to Serbia's Kosovo province. 

A first round of voting two weeks ago was inconclusive because in 17 of the 35 constituencies no candidate won more than 50 percent of the vote.

Lawmakers were elected to the 17 vacant seats in the re-run on Sunday, the separatists' official Internet site said, citing election officials.

Georgia lost control over the province in the 1990s after bloody wars with the separatists. Russian-backed Abkhazia, a resort area on the Black Sea, has declared independence although Georgia wants to re-assert control over it.

Most of the new members of parliament ran as independents, while others were supported by rival parties Amtskhara and the National Unity Forum.

Georgia's President Mikhail Saakashvili condemned the first round of voting as illegitimate. The European Union and the United States also rejected the original poll, saying they supported Georgia's territorial integrity.