Alexander Ankvab: veni, vidi, vici30.08.2011 | 14:23
Alexander Ankvab's absolute victory in the first round of the presidential elections in Abkhazia came as a surprise for many experts. The probability that he would make it to the second round together with his main rival Sergey Shamba was high. Deputy of the Russian State Duma, Director of the Institute of CIS Countries Konstantin Zatulin shared his viewpoint on why the analysts' forecasts of a long consistent struggle between the candidates did not come true and what will happen to the republic when the new leader comes to power.
It has become known on Saturday that Abkhazia has got a new president: it is former Vice President of the independent republic Alexander Ankvab who gained 55 percent of votes in Friday elections. The fact that over a half of electors voted for him was decisive: there will be no second round, for the evident leader has one the first one. In all, three candidates were running for the Abkhaz presidency: Alexander Ankvab, Raul Hadzhimba and Sergey Shamba.
"Our candidate has gained about 55 percent of votes. In absolute figures, according to our estimation based on the data from the district electoral commissions, he was voted for by 58 thousand people. Sergey Shamba goes second with the votes of 23 thousand electors. He is closely followed by Hadzhimba who gained the votes of 22 thousand people", - said the head of Alexander Ankvab's campaign headquarters Leonid Lakerbaya.
The fact that Ankvab has fought down his nearest rival Sergey Shamba with a huge, double majority, came as a real surprise upon a number of experts. However, the eagerness of the electors who ensured their candidate's victory in the first round can be all the same explained logically.
"Alexander Ankvab's victory in the first round was a bit unexpected for me, - Deputy of the Russian State Duma, Director of the Institute of CIS Countries Konstantin Zatulin confessed in an interview to GeorgiaTimes. - I supposed there would be a second round with the participation of Alexander Ankvab and Sergey Shamba; they had been leading in this trio. Still, Ankvab's victory with almost 55 percent is less than what Sergey Bagapsh gained in his first and second elections".
Our interlocutor noted the small majority that saved Ankvab from the second round - just 5 percent of electors. If he had gained fewer votes, an additional fight with Shamba would have been inevitable. "It means he will have to consider the electors who voted for his opponents in his future policy. It is especially reasonable with parliamentary elections to the Abkhaz Supreme Council coming in March and, naturally, all political forces will take part in them", - Konstantin Zatulin explained in his conversation with GeorgiaTimes correspondent.
He says the most illustrative surprise in the elections was a huge gap between Ankvab and Shamba that many experts could not possibly foresee. "Of course, the partial reason for that is a number of miscalculations made by the campaign headquarters of Ankvab's opponents. But it still speaks of the fact that the fears of the period of struggling for Abkhazia's independence and a sharp confrontation with Georgia when a politician's success depended on his merits in this liberation fight are gradually fading away, - the director of the institute believes. - Today, people want a better life; they want order to be established and corruption to be eliminated and they want quick changes for the better. Of course, they know about the difficulties and obstacles and that's why they prefer a strong and firm leader. During the election campaign, Ankvab was associated with a "strong hand", an "iron broom". I believe it worked and it can mean a mandate for making changes in the country".
Konstantin Zatulin is sure that the new president's tactics will soon become obvious: parliamentary elections are coming, so Ankvab should not display himself as uncompromising in respect of those who did not vote for him. "Ankvab is a pragmatic and prudent politician who will act cautiously", - our interlocutor is sure.
Now many people are interested not in the results of elections but in the republic's nearest future and a long-term prospect. The winner of the presidential race has stated his intention to continue and develop strategic partnership with Russia. It was a kind of an axiom that would have worked with any candidate, for Abkhazia is building independence with the help of its northern neighbour. "Each new head of the state adds something personal to it. It should be noted that the period of peaceful construction after the republic's independence was acknowledged highlighted a whole number of problems in the interaction of RF and Abkhazia, which need to be solved", - the head of the Institute of CIS Countries stated in an interview to GeorgiaTimes.
According to him, the range of issues includes the rapprochement of legislations, investment guarantees in Abkhazia, guarantees for Abkhazia and its people relating to the country's assets: the income and the associated advantages. "There is a number of inherited problems, for instance, the housing problem. There is a grave problem of criminality and the necessity to restrain drug abuse, which is unfortunately typical of Abkhazia and other post-Soviet territories, including Russia. It should be struggled effectively", - Konstantin Zatulin believes.