SUKHUM, July 11. /TASS/. Abkhazia’s opposition party Amtsakhara will discuss its further actions following Sunday’s failed referendum on early presidential elections at an extended session of its political council and representatives of the Bloc of Opposition Forces next Monday, July 18, the party’s leader, Alkhas Kvitsiniya told TASS on Monday.
"Today, we took a decision to hold an extended meeting of our political council with the Bloc of Opposition Forces on Monday, July 18. All our actions will be within the framework of the constitution and the country’s laws," he said.
Abkhazia’s Central Election Commission said on Monday the voter turnout at Sunday’s referendum was 1.23%, or 1,628 voters. The referendum was declared invalid due to the unprecedented low turnout.
Touching on possible talks with the authorities, Kvitsiniya said that no one has officially contacted the opposition with such an initiative. "If we have an official invitation, we are ready for dialogue. There are sober forces among the country’s leaders. I am sure we will discuss state issues to try to find common ground to get out of the current difficult situation," he stressed.
Meanwhile, Abkhazia’s President Raul Khadzhimba said earlier on Monday dialogue with the opposition will be continued. "There are people in the opposition, the dialogue with whom is possible," he said, adding that organizers of mass riots on July 5 in Sukhum will be brought to responsibility.
The referendum on early presidential elections was held on Sunday in conformity with the decree of Abkhazia President Raul Khadzhimba who was elected to that post on August 24, 2014. His predecessor, Alexander Ankvab, was forced to resign after a mass opposition rally on May 27, 2014 which was led by the incumbent president. Some time later, Khadzhimba came under criticism from his opponents who accuse him of inability to improve the situation in the republic and take it out of the current profound crisis. Apart from that they said Khadzhimba had come to power in a state coup.
Five days ahead of the voting, on July 5, Abkhazia’s opposition party Amtsakhara passed a resolution at its extraordinary congress demanding postponement of the referendum on early presidential elections from July 10 to autumn and resignation of Abkhazian Interior Minister Leonid Dzapshba over the deterioration of the crime situation and actions aimed at violating people’s constitutional rights. The president however insisted the referendum be held as scheduled but suspended the minister until the prosecutor’s check is over.
On Saturday, the bloc of opposition force that initiated the referendum called on people not to take part in the voting demanding it be postponed till autumn.