Abkhaz Parliament Retracts Citizenship Bill
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 7 Aug.'09 / 19:45

Parliament of breakaway Abkhazia annulled on August 6 its decision on endorsing amendment to the law on citizenship, which would have made thousands of ethnic Georgians living in Gali district eligible for the Abkhaz citizenship.

The move came six days after the breakaway region’s lawmakers passed the amendment, triggering the opposition groups’ protest.

Local news agency, Apsnipress, reported that Abkhaz leader Sergey Bagapsh returned the amendment, which he planned to sign into law, back to the Parliament for “revision.”

In a joint statement Forum of Abkhaz People’s Unity; Aruaa, a union of Abkhaz war veterans and public movement Akhatsa, condemned the amendment, which was passed by the Abkhaz lawmakers on July 31, as a step against the Abkhaz statehood.

“Since that moment [adoption of the amendment] the number of citizens of Abkhazia of the Georgian origin has become equal to the number of citizens of [Abkhazia] of the Abkhaz origin,” they said in the statement on August 3.

The opposition claimed that the amendment was made by the authorities ahead of the presidential elections, scheduled for later this year, trying to capitalize on votes of ethnic Georgians living in the Gali district.

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