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13 Jan 2020 | 11:12 AM UTC

Georgia: President of Abkhazia resigns January 12, fresh elections scheduled for March 22 /update 1

Abkhazian President Raul Khajimba resigns on January 12, fresh elections scheduled for March 22; election-related demonstrations likely over the near term

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GEO

Event

Raul Khajimba, president of the Georgian breakaway region of Abkhazia, announced his resignation on the evening (local time) of Sunday, January 12, following days of protests and mediation talks with Russian envoys. New presidential elections have been scheduled for Sunday, March 22; Prime Minister Valery Bganba has been named as caretaker president.  

Political rallies and protests are expected in the lead up to the elections and following the result of the elections; a heightened security presence and localized traffic disruptions are to be anticipated near all such demonstrations.

Context

Incumbent President Raul Khajimba won the September 8 runoff presidential elections with 47.39% of the vote, while his opponent, opposition leader Alkhas Kvitsinia, received 46.17%. The Supreme Court in Abkhazia confirmed the results of the highly contested election on September 20. Kvitsinia has repeatedly called on authorities to void the results of the runoff.

Advice

Individuals in Abkhazia are advised to monitor developments to the situation, avoid all public gatherings and demonstrations, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities.