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Friday, March 16, 2018

A referendum without surprises: the current authorities in Abkhazia will stand

Sunday, July 10, Abkhazia was determined by their attitude towards early elections of the President. At this point the outcome of the vote was not clear yet. However, according to the correspondent “MK”, he was a foregone conclusion.

photo: Mikhail Kovalev

The referendum was passed one question: “do you Consider necessary carrying out of early election of the President of the Republic of Abkhazia?” In fact, it is a referendum of confidence in the incumbent. It was initiated by the opposition, which at the beginning of March this year, has applied to the CEC with the relevant documents justifying the need for a referendum “the current socio-political situation in the country.” President Raul Khajimba has met the opposition, but they were not satisfied with the polling date. 5 July in Sukhum supporters of the opposition party “amtsakhara” attempted to storm the interior Ministry building. During the riots have suffered about 20 people. On the same day the President dismissed interior Minister Leonid Dzapshba, but to carry a referendum in the fall, as demanded by the opposition, refused. However, Raul Khajimba expressed readiness to immediately resign if the population will vote for early elections.

Frustrated the opposition on Saturday, on the eve of the vote, called for a boycott of the referendum, reiterating the demand for transferring it to the fall. In order for the referendum was declared valid, the turnout should be 50% of the total number of voters plus one person. And in the first hours after the polls open, it became clear that the turnout is extremely low. By noon voted less than 1% of voters. Reached a joke. Thus, according to the Chairman of district election Commission of the 29th electoral district, located in ochamchirsky area, Andrew Berzelia in the first three hours they voted the same person. The lists on this district submitted 4327 voters.

To make political forecasts — employment is even more thankless than to predict the weather. The political winds more capricious and changeable than the elements of nature. Especially in the context of the former Soviet Union, where sudden powerful Nord-OST in recent times upsets someone’s carefully laid plans. But still dare to play the role of predictor. In my opinion, the initiators of the referendum were wrong, and according to its results, the current government will not just maintain, but strengthen its position. Thus, in Abkhaz society is visibly growing frustration with the opposition, which shows, first, the irresponsibility (riots in the midst of the holiday season, which has already led to an outflow of tourists), and secondly, the signs of political schizophrenia (she initiated the referendum itself calls for a boycott). A referendum are those forces that were ousted from power in 2014 as a result of street protests. Now these forces want to take revenge and send Raul Khajimba resigned before the expiration of his term, to avenge the humiliation of two years ago. But it is unlikely they will succeed. An unexpected breakthrough to power in 2004, tandem Bagapsh–Ankvab (these people stood at the cradle of the current opposition) was due to the support of the Eastern districts of Abkhazia, where the Mingrelian population and strong ties with Georgia. Today the issue of Georgia finally lost relevance. A “traditional” Abkhazia is the Western regions generally supports the political clan, which traces its succession from the first President Ardzinba and which today is in power.

My prediction: if the referendum is voted on, which is unlikely, most will vote against early elections. If turnout is insufficient, the opposition will try to portray this as a victory (after all, it was she who called for a boycott of the referendum) and require another vote in the fall. Not excluded a new attempt to destabilize the situation and make the showdown on the street. However, the government will not succumb to pressure and make concessions. After the failure of the referendum, in fact, means that the population considers the issue of early elections are out of date. Serious destabilisation is unlikely: the opposition does not have the resources for it. Khajimba will stay in his post until the end of the term.

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