SUKHUM, July 6 /TASS/. Abkhazian President Raul Khadzhimba has relieved Interior Minister Leonid Dzapshbu of his duties, a presidential administration source said.
"The president signed a decree on relieving the interior minister of his duties for the time of the prosecutor’s investigation. First Deputy Interior Minister Boris Abitov will temporary perform the interior minister’s duties," the source said.
He clarified that the crowd outside the Interior Ministry building was calming down and had started to disperse.
The president said on air of the Abkhazian state television that he would not postpone the referendum on early presidential elections to a later date.
"I am not going to put off the referendum because a decree has been signed. The referendum will take place on July 10. If I put it off until autumn as they assume I myself am going to break the law, which the opposition is saying I am obliged to fulfil," Khadzhimba said live on TV.
He said that the current events in Abkhazia were an attempt to destabilize the situation in the country and that the interior minister was just a pretext. Khadzhimba said he would meet the opposition’s demand to allow people with expired passports to vote in the referendum.
The opposition leaders told the protesters outside the Interior Ministry building that Dzapshba was no longer working in it and asked everybody to relocate to the Amtsakhara party’s office.
There will be only one question at the July 10 referendum: do you think that early elections of the Abkhazian president are necessary? It is the opposition who initiated the national vote but its representatives are blaming the authorities for doing everything to disrupt the referendum.