SUKHUM, January 10. /TASS/. Protesters in Abkhazia will stay in the square in front of the presidential staff building until a decision has been made to call a re-election of the head of state, one of the rally’s organizers, Akhra Avidzba, told TASS.
"I wish to see clarity regarding a new election. So does the people. We’ve gathered here with this intention. We will end the rally when common sense prevails over ambitions. We will leave the building when a re-election is called," Avidzba said.
He stressed that the protesters were against resolving the conflict from the position of strength. Their main demand, he said, is the incumbent, Raul Khajimba, should observe the Constitution, including that part of it which concerns elections. He argues that in the September 2019 election both presidential candidates collected less than 50% of the votes, while an election victory requires a majority of no less than 50% plus one vote.
"We went to his [Khajimba’s] office and asked him to meet with us. We wished to explain that he must be a guarantor of our Constitution and legal authorities, that he must call another election on his own. He did not do that. Instead, his bodyguards began to provoke and push us. We are not football balls. We began to struggle for entering the building without a fight and meet with the head of Abkhazia. None of the guys who entered the building will be able to say that he was hit by any of the police or special service agents. Nor can the special service people say so," Avidzba said. According to his estimates, about 200-300 people gathered for a rally in support of the current authorities on Friday.
"They show no aggression," he said.
The political crisis in Abkhazia erupted on January 9, when protesters demanding the resignation of President Raul Khajimba forced their way into the building of the presidential staff. Khajimba called an urgent meeting of the Security Council to declare that the introduction of a state of emergency was not ruled out. Abkhazia’s parliament met in early session on the same day to vote for a message to the president urging him to step down. In response, Khajimba invited the opposition to negotiate.