Parliament in breakaway Abkhazia passed a resolution on May 31 declaring Abkhaz leader Alexander Ankvab “incapable” of performing his presidential duties and calling for early elections for August 24.
With the same resolution the breakaway region’s legislative body decided “to assign presidential powers and duties” to speaker of parliament Valery Bganba.
24 lawmakers out of 25 present at the session of 35-seat legislative body voted in favor of the resolution, official Abkhaz news agency, Apsnipress, reported on Saturday evening; one lawmaker abstained.
According to the Abkhaz constitution, parliament speaker is only third in presidential line of succession after vice-president and prime minister.
Vice-president’s post is vacant since December, when Mikhail Logua filed for resignation. Parliament passed no-confidence vote against PM Leonid Lakerbaia, who is Ankvab’s ally, on May 29; but according to the Abkhaz constitution, in case of no-confidence vote it is up to the president to decide whether to sack PM or not; Ankvab declined the motion.
Parliament said in its resolution that its May 31 decision aims at overcoming “acute internal political crisis.”
There was no immediate reaction from Alexander Ankvab, who according to his allies is at the Russian military base in Gudauta. Opposition, which continues occupying presidential administration building since late May 27, has been insisting on Ankvab’s resignation; Ankvab said on May 30 that he’s ready for talks, but added that he would not discuss any demands put forth in a form of “ultimatums.”
Earlier on May 31 PM of breakaway region Leonid Lakerbaia chaired a session of government members held in official dacha residence in Sokhumi, not in a governmental administration building.
“It’s not an easy situation in the country,” Apsnipress reported quoting Lakerbaia, who also said that ministries should keep on working in usual mode without any disruptions.
Interior Minister, Otar Khetsia, said that “criminal situation remains stable… and in overall situation is under control” in this regard.
Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Chirikba said that he spoke via phone with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister, Grigory Karasin, who, according to Chirikba, expressed confidence that the Abkhaz people would be able to overcome the crisis in the nearest future. He also said that work continues in usual mode. “We are even receiving delegations, showing the entire world that Abkhazia continues functioning as an independent, sovereign state,” Apsnipress reported, quoting Chirikba.