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Saakashvili complements Abkhaz elections2009-12-09 23:35
Georgian president criticizes presidential election in Abkhazia prescheduled for Saturday saying it's a poor caricature of democracy. Other Georgian politicians forecast protests by Abkhaz opposition and a profound political crisis after the voting. Well, Apsny too has its skeptics but it's not up to Georgia to give democracy lessons to Abkhazians, and the words on a poor copy of Georgian elections can be considered a compliment.
The presidential race in Abkhazia is approaching the finish line. On Saturday five candidates will be voted for. There are Professor Vitaly Bganba, Economic Development Party leader Beslan Butba, ex Vice President Raul Khajimba, current President Sergey Bagapsh and CEO of state-owned Abkhazian Sea Shipping Company Zaur Ardzinba. Each of them is clustered with a candidate for vice president.
A few scandals accompanied the pre-election period as well as discontent the opposition had over organization and now it's evident that some candidates will contest the results. All that however indicates that democracy in Abkhazia is in its making like everywhere else in post-Soviet space.
In the meantime Georgia is mocking at the Abkhaz elections.
Recently President Mikheil Saakashvili made a not very pleasant review of Abkhaz authorities referring to Abkhazia as part of his country. He said 80% of the population has been evicted from the country. "What is going on there, an election attempt, is a poor caricature of democracy", - the Georgian leader stated after the meeting with his Latvian counterpart Valdis Zatlers, Rosbalt reports.
Indeed, after the wars in 1990s the population shrunk twofold - by over 200 thousand people. The 1989 census's figure was 525,061 and now there are 180,000 people by the Georgian version. The Abkhaz version which seems to be more correct since the Georgian authorities are not allowed in its territory is over 215,000 persons.
Does that mean the election will be undemocratic? For instance in late 1990s early 2000s in Georgia official decrease of population was 500,000 persons. In reality there were three million people left of the five million. Almost a million are living in Russia.
At the 2008 election reestablishing Mikheil Saakashvili as president the voting in Russia took place only in Moscow and was attended by 700 persons only. So the opinion of most emigrants that fled persecutions and low living standards in Georgia was not taken into account.
In fact nobody considers Georgia a specimen of democratic development. Certainly Saakashvili that has learned the bitter lesson of November 2007 doesn't dare to suppress the opposition openly. But real opponents failed to get through to the parliament last year. Declaring the election results falsified the representatives of opposition abandoned their few mandates. Besides Saakashvili regime that initially really looked like democracy has gradually grown strictly authoritarian. Let's recall the secret order to attack South Ossetia. The issue was solved in a narrow circle. Any public discussion of force scenarios in line with the democratic system was out of question.
Blind to their personal drawbacks Georgian authorities take liberty of criticizing Sukhum. Recently Vice Speaker of Georgian parliament Paata Davitaya was foretelling a domestic political crisis and after-election confrontation in Abkhazia.