Ex-deputy prime minister of breakaway Abkhazia, Beslan Eshba, was denied in registration as a candidate for the August 24 early presidential election after failing Abkhaz language test, Apsnipress news agency reported on Monday.
One of the requirements for being registered as a presidential candidate is knowledge of the Abkhaz language, which will be examined by a five-member “linguistic commission.”
Other four contenders, who have applied for registration as candidates before the deadline expired on July 14, have passed the language exam on Monday.
Among them are: MP Raul Khajimba, leader of Forum of the National Unity of Abkhazia; acting defense minister of breakaway region Merab Kishmaria; acting head of the breakaway region’s security service Aslan Bzhania, and ex-interior minister Leonid Dzapshba.
Written and oral Abkhaz language exam for would-be presidential candidates was carried out by a five-member “linguistic commission”.
Chairman of the central election commission, Batal Tabagua, said at a news conference on July 14 that after the exam Eshba was denied in registration because of “insufficient knowledge” of the Abkhaz language, Apsnipress news agency reported.
He also said that in case of a complaint, Eshba would be provided with copy of his written tests, as well as a video recording of the examination.
Academic Shota Arstaa, who chaired the exam commission, complained at the same news conference that the Abkhaz language is not widely used by politicians. He said that it became a trend to start speaking in Abkhaz and then switching to Russian because of speakers’ limited vocabulary. “We should talk with Abkhazians in the Abkhaz language; that’s our official language and we have no other,” he said.
Enforcement of the law, obligating government and other state institutions to conduct all of their work in the Abkhaz language, is planned from next year in the breakaway region.