SUKHUM, May 30. /ITAR-TASS/. Before the resumption of direct dialogue with the Abkhazian authorities on Friday, the republican opposition delivered an anticipatory blow: the opposition leader, member of the Abkhazian parliament Raul Khadzhimba, organized a meeting with the mass media and made a number of statements.
Thus, he said that that the republic’s President, Alexander Ankvab, was no longer legitimate and his powers had been transferred to the parliament and the Provisional Council of People’s Trust that had been formed on Thursday. “We will go on working, regardless of any statements Ankvab might pronounce,” Khadshimba said. “He quit his post of his own accord, he left the people.” So far, according to the opposition leader, there was no “definite answer” from Ankvab to the demands delivered to him.
The Abkhazian authorities are sustaining a pause, the Abkhazian Security Council’s Secretary Nugzar Ashuba, the key negotiator with the opposition, told ITAR-TASS on Friday. In his words, there was “a kind of a lull in the dialogue with the opposition over the new circumstances.” “We will agree the format of our next meeting taking into account these circumstances,” he said.
“The new circumstances” he mentioned are the parliament’s vote of no confidence to Prime Minister Leonid Lakerbaia and the urge to President Alexander Ankvab to resign. The responses were negative, and the Security Council’s secretary commented on the situation by saying, “The deputies initiated a suggestion in compliance with the Constitution, and whether the president accepts it or rejects - is his decision.”
Ashuba is holding consultations with members of Abkhazia’s Security Council. “The most important thing now is to analyze correctly the situation in the country,” Ashuba said. “Before we present any suggestions to President Ankvab, we should have a clear picture of what is happening. The president demanded from all the structures to exclude absolutely the use of force option of settling the problems.”
According to Raul Khadzhimba, the republic is living through “the process of restoration of state administration.” The opposition claims there are only two legitimate power bodies in the republic - the existing parliament and the newly formed Provisional Council of People’s Trust. “Our task is to pool efforts with the parliament to ensure stability in the transitional period, to develop a model of the constitutional reform, to prevent possible usurpation of power and to create a political system that would be controlled by society,” he said.
Both the current authorities and the opposition share one thing - they say it is their top priority task for the moment is to stop further split of society.
Abkhazia’s political crisis erupted on Tuesday with a rally in Sukhum, where several thousand opposition protesters accused the president of using authoritarian styles in state governance and demanded resignation of the government, prosecutor general and heads of the country’s eastern regions. Next day, a rally of the government’s supporters took up the protests. On Thursday, the opposition announced “the formation of a coalition government of trust and people’s concord” and demanded from the authorities they must continue the trend for a peaceful settlement of the situation in compliance with the constitution. The parties in the conflict began a direct dialogue after involvement of the Russian mediation: presidential aide Vladislav Surkov visited Abkhazia, where he had meetings with President Ankvab and his ministers as well as with representatives of the opposition. The republic’s parliament called on the parties to launch a dialogue. Russia, in its turn, confirmed the recent events were exclusively a home affair of sovereign Abkhazia.