Sergey Shamba, breakaway Abkhazia’s prime minister, said he has “an intention” to run for presidency in early elections planned for August 26.
In an interview with the Russian news website, Lenta.ru, on June 17, Shamba, however, also said that it would only be possible to announce his final decision after a formal nomination of candidates starts from June 27.
Asked how real the possibility of joining forces with acting president Alexander Ankvab in upcoming elections was, Shamba responded: “I do not think it’s real.”
Ankvab is also considered to be one of the potential candidates, although some commentators have suggested that the two might run on joint ticket with one of them possibly becoming a vice-president.
Ankvab has so far declined to speak publicly about his plans whether he intends to run or not for presidency.
“He [Ankvab] has his own plans in this regard and I have my own plans. We are friends, but joining forces in this issue is unlikely,” Shamba said.
Asked whether the 2004 scenario was possible or not, when at the time two major rival candidates – Sergey Bagapsh, who died in late May, and Raul Khajimba – made a power sharing deal with Bagapsh becoming a president and the latter vice-president following dispute elections, Shamba responded that everything was possible in Abkhazia.
“We can agree between each other at decisive moments. But no such option is currently being discussed,” Shamba said.
He also said that he had no fundamental “ideological differences” with Ankvab.
“There are different issues of tactical nature; therefore, each of us follows our own course, with our own teams,” Shamba said.
He said there might be attempts from Tbilisi to influence on the Abkhaz presidential election through manipulating preference of ethnic Georgian population of the Gali district.
“They usually try to influence on the Georgian population in the Gali district. There apparently will be attempts this time too,” he said. “I do not know whom they will be supporting.”