The New Rights opposition party said it “respects” the choice made by the voters in breakaway Abkhazia in August 26 elections and wished new Abkhaz leader, Alexander Ankvab, “success on this important post.”
“Naturally, neither official Tbilisi nor international organizations recognize legal and constitutional framework in which presidential elections in Abkhazia were held; but, nevertheless, the New Rights political union respects the choice of the Abkhaz people and congratulates them on victory of a candidate, who enjoys with serious support of the society. We believe, that taking over power in Abkhazia by Alexander Ankvab means a new stage in the life of the Abkhaz people,” the New Rights Party said in a statement released on August 29.
“Naturally it is of tremendous importance who will be the leader of Abkhazia in the following years. We believe that the new stage should come in relations between the Georgian and Abkhaz peoples during which we will be able to restore lost confidence and find new forms of co-existence, which will be acceptable for the both sides.”
“We wish the choice of the Abkhaz people to be the right one and Alexander Ankvab to be the leader who will resolve this and other serious problems facing the Abkhaz people. We sincerely would like to believe to those people, who have faith that Alexander Ankvab’s life deserves respect both of the Abkhaz and the Georgian peoples and wish him success on this important post,” the New Rights Party said.
The statement also makes a reference to those suggestions in which some speculated in Tbilisi ahead of the Abkhaz vote, that Sergey Shamba, Ankvab’s rival candidate was Moscow’s favorite although Russia has not publicly backed any of the three candidates running for the Abkhaz leadership.
“We welcome that political forecasts that the Kremlin favorite would have won in these elections turned out to be wrong. This fact should become a serious message for those people, who still believe that the fate of elections in Georgia can be determined by any other country. Elections in Abkhazia is a clear demonstration that no one is capable to go against the will of the people and that even under the condition of occupation it is possible to achieve a result which reflects the choice of the people. That definitely a good example for Georgia on the eve of upcoming 2012 and 2013 parliamentary and presidential [respectively] elections during which the authorities should secure free and competitive conditions,” the New Rights Party said.
Irakli Alasania, leader of another opposition party Our Georgia-Free Democrats, said in an interview with RFE/RL’s Russian-language service, Ekho Kavkaza, that the choice of those part of Abkhaz population, which currently resides in the region, was “respectable”.
“First of all I want to note, that this is the choice of those part of the population which currently lives in Abkhazia. Unfortunately, hundreds of thousands of our compatriots are deprived of their right to make their choice. For that reasons and for many others, we, like the international community, do not consider these elections as legitimate,” Alasania said.
“But we are not also going to ignore them, because my political party and, I think, overwhelming majority of our population too strongly believe that direct dialogue between Georgian and Abkhaz people with a goal to restore mutual confidence will help to resolve the problem exclusively through peaceful means,” Alasania said.
In an interview with the Russian newspaper, Izvestia, published on August 28, when asked what will be changed in relations with Tbilisi, Ankvab responded: “What can be changed?”
“There is Geneva process – we participate in those talks. Those proposals, which were made by [late Abkhaz leader] Sergey Bagapsh about signing of an agreement on peace and non-use of force, were rejected. We see that it’s hardly possible to agree on anything with today’s Georgia,” Ankvab said.