Nino Burjanadze, the acting president, said on December 4 that “certain attempts have been made to complicate the situation” in the conflict zone on the eve of the election. She added that if the right choice were made on January 5, Georgia would regain its territorial integrity.
“We have heard the statements [allegedly made by the breakaway Abkhaz authorities] that the population in Gali [in Abkhazia] will face certain problems upon their return to the Gali district if they participate in the January 5 presidential election. [These statements] were no surprise,” Burjanadze told reporters. “Certain attempts have been made to complicate the situation in the conflict regions. But I am sure that if we make the right choice tomorrow [on January 5], this problem will prove to be temporary and we will be able to restore the country’s territorial integrity so that nobody will ever be able to prohibit our population from moving from one area to another.”
The Georgian media reported that ethnic Georgians in the breakaway region’s Gali district were being intimidated by local Abkhaz officials and were prevented from going to the nearby town of Zugdidi to cast their ballots. Abkhaz officials have denied the allegation, saying the reports were “misinformation.”