Abkhaz Presidential Contenders Seek Crisis Resolution in Moscow

(Civil Georgia)–After two days of talks with unnamed Russian officials in Moscow–the two principal contenders for Abkhazia’s presidency Raul Khajimba and Sergey Bagapsh–returned home on November 3. It is unclear–however–if there was a breakthrough in the political crisis that erupted after the disputed October 3 presidential elections in the unrecognized republic.

Pro-government presidential candidate Raul Khajimba said there are possibilities for an agreement–while opposition candidate Sergey Bagapsh insisted he has won at the polls.

"Together with Sergey Bagapsh–we discussed possible ways out of the current crisis in Abkhazia. Moscow’s climate is better for finding a solution," Khajimba told Itar-Tass news agency on November 2.

"I feel that options to overcoming the crisis exist. Everything depends on Sergey Bagapsh and me," he added. He refrained from specifying details.

Opposition Abkhaz presidential candidate Bagapsh reiterated that he opposes holding repeat elections–as demanded by Khajimba.

"Elections have been held and the president has already been elected," he told RIA Novosti news agency on November 3.

The Central Election Commission announced Bagapsh the winner with 50.08% of votes–but Khajimba challenged the decision in the Supreme Court. The latter rejected Khajimba’s appeal on October 28 and–in turn–confirmed Bagapsh as president-elect.

But with the subsequent storming of the Supreme Court building by Khajimba’s supporters–the court reversed its decision and ruled new elections be held.

Russia’s open support of pro-governmental candidate Khajimba–has upset Georgia. Georgia’s Parliament Chair Nino Burjanadze accused Moscow of employing double standards when dealing with conflicts in the Caucasus. She said Moscow is fighting against separatists on its territory in Chechnya while supporting separatists in Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

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