Aslan Bzhaniya wins presidential election in Abkhazia

Aslan Bzhaniya wins presidential election in Abkhazia

Leader of the opposition Aslan Bzhania won election of the President of Abkhazia. According to the CEC, he got 56.5% of the votes.

Second presidential election was held in Abkhazia on Sunday, March 22. Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Economy Adgur Ardzinba, deputy of the parliament, leader of the opposition bloc Aslan Bzhaniya and former Minister of Internal Affairs Leonid Dzapshba competed for the top post. Former president Raul Khajimba didn't participate in the election campaign.

The Abkhazia-inform and Sputnik-Abkhazia news agencies report that according to preliminary results of the vote, announced today at a briefing by the chairman of the Central Election Commission Tamaz Gogia, Aslan Bzhania won by a wide margin, gaining 56.5% of the votes. The remaining candidates scored: Adgur Ardzinba - 35.42%, Leonid Dzapshba - 2.22%. People could also choose the option "against all". In accordance with the law “On the Election of the President of the Republic of Abkhazia”, presidential candidate is considered elected when he receives over half of the votes. The president is elected for five years.

The fact that the elections were considered to be legitimate in terms of turnout became known the day before. According to the data, as of 18:00, over 58% of voters came to polling stations. All election sites were provided with disinfectants. According to observers, the elections were held in a calm, friendly atmosphere, and were completely legitimate. Presidential candidate Adgur Ardzinba agreed with the election results and congratulated the winner. Right now nothing is known about the reaction of Leonid Dzapshba to Bzhania's victory. 

Aslan Bzhania, born in 1963, graduated from the Moscow Road Institute, was elected MP of the Abkhaz parliament, major general, as well as chairman of the State Security Service of Abkhazia and a presidential candidate in the 2014 election. After his defeat in 2014, he was dismissed and led the political opposition. He was one of the ideologists and organizers of mass protests against President Raul Khadjimba in Sukhum on January 8-12, 2020. On January 9, at the initiative of Bzhania, the People’s Assembly of Abkhazia forced Khajimba to resign.

Bzhania has a reputation as supporter of Abkhazia's integration with Russia, while still preserving sovereignty of the republic. He advocates for constitutional order and strict observance of the rule of law, while being against the chaos of "rally democracy". Bzhaniya believes that the assistance Abkhazia receives from Russia won't last forever and that a country cannot always be supported by powerful neighbor. He pursues systemic reforms of all sectors, government stimulation of business and agriculture, strengthening of the budget discipline, improved lending to business, the republic’s transition to self-sufficiency of its own products, anti-corruption, reform of the health and education system, targeted assistance to disabled people and their families, as well as the fight against drug addiction, which remains one of the more urgent problems of Abkhazia.

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