Abkhazia Presidential Candidates in Moscow

MOSCOW (Itar-Tass)–Abkhazian presidential candidates Sergei Bagapsh and Raul Khadzhimba are in Moscow–a source in the Moscow representative office of Abkhazia told Itar-Tass on Tuesday. The source did not announce–however–which Russian leaders the two men are scheduled to meet.

Khadzhimba–who was contacted by phone–denied any comment–saying he was too busy. The standoff between Khadzhimba and Bagapsh has sparked a political crisis in the self-proclaimed republic.

The current situation erupted after the unresolved October 3 presidential elections. The atmosphere was further clouded after the Supreme Court passed down two conflicting decisions about the election results. The first validated the Central Election Commission’s results–which named Bagapsh the winner–while the second–released several hours later–invalidated the entire election and called for new elections.

A decree of incumbent President Vladislav Ardzinba followed–ordering new elections on the grounds that the "Supreme Court of the Republic of Abkhazia has not passed a decision at a time stipulated by the Constitution on complaints addressed to it and on defense of constitutional rights of citizens and prevention of threats to the constitutional order of Abkhazia."

Bagapsh stated that he did not intend to obey Ardzinba’s order. "At present–the sole legal document is the decision of the Supreme Court rendering the elections in Abkhazia to be valid–and I have been elected president of the republic," he said in an interview with Itar-Tass.

Supporters of Khadzhimba blocked the entrance to Abkhazian parliament building on Monday–when he and Bagapsh arrived in Moscow. Khadzhimba’s chief campaigner Vasily Avidzba said the protesters prevented parliamentarians from entering the building because they "were going to pass a resolution on annulment of the order of President Vladislav Ardzinba on the repeated elections of the head of the republic and declare a vote of no-confidence in the president."

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