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Abkhaz President introduces law to reschedule parliamentary elections for August 25

The law submitted for the parliament’s consideration stipulates the reduction of the cutoff date of holding the elections from two months to one month before the sitting President’s term expires

SUKHUMI, May 22. /TASS/. Abkhaz President Raul Khajimba has introduced the bill rescheduling the presidential elections in the republic from July 21 to August 25 in Parliament on Wednesday.

"Abkhaz President Raul Khajimba submitted a draft bill on introducing amendments to the Republic of Abkhazia’s constitutional law on the elections of the Abkhaz President for consideration in the Parliament," the message published on the official website of the President reads.

The Presidential administration told TASS that these amendments were supposed to be considered during the Wednesday’s parliamentary session, which did not convene.

Draft bill

The law submitted for the parliament’s consideration stipulates the reduction of the cutoff date of holding the elections from two months to one month before the sitting President’s term expires.

"The Abkhaz President is elected for five years. The term starts since the day the President is sworn into the office. The sitting President assumed the post on September 25, 2014. Therefore, his term expires on September 25, 2019," the message reads.

The message also clarifies that the national constitution does not set out the dates of holding the elections.

Postponing the elections

The Abkhazian opposition earlier demanded that the presidential election be delayed from July 21 to the fall due to the illness of one of the major opposition leaders, Aslan Bzhaniya. In April, the politician was hospitalized in critical condition in Moscow. His family believes he might have been poisoned.

On Monday, the parliament refused to delay the election until November 23. In response, the opposition announced an indefinite protest in Sukhumi and the beginning of acts of civil disobedience across the country, two sections of roads of national importance were blocked. The Abkhaz President accused the opposition of attempting to seize power and called on the people to resist provocations.

In the evening of May 21, Khajimba and opposition representatives reached an agreement to postpone the elections.