The Abkhaz leadership yesterday claimed an overwhelming turnout in the November 24 legislative election. Out of 35 legislative seats, 30 were adjudicated in the first round and 5 will be filled after runoffs. Most candidates were Communists and their allies. The Abkhaz leaders failed to acknowledge the fact that the election took place in the absence of the great majority of the republic’s ethnic Georgian population, ethnically cleansed by Russian-backed Abkhaz troops in the 1992-93 war. The major powers and international organizations declared the Abkhaz election invalid in advance.
Most of the refugee population, now sheltered in Georgia proper and in other former Soviet republics, took part in another referendum, also held on November 24. This group overwhelmingly agreed with the ballot proposition that any elections in Abkhazia are invalid before the return of the refugees and the determination of the region’s political status as part of Georgia. (Interfax, Iprinda, November 24-25)
The new Abkhaz legislature is meant to cement the region’s secession from Georgia and to replace the former Abkhaz Autonomous Republic’s Supreme Soviet. That body split in 1993 into a group of 28 deputies who continued as the Abkhaz Supreme Soviet and another group of 26 deputies who moved to Georgia and continue to constitute an exiled parliament of Abkhazia.
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