A group of former and sitting Abkhaz lawmakers met on Thursday behind the closed doors with all three candidates running in the August 26 presidential election in the breakaway region to discuss recent confrontation between the two candidates.
The meeting was chaired by speaker of parliament Nugzar Ashuba, who is now an acting president of the breakaway region as one of the candidates, vice president Alexander Ankvab, had to take leave of absence during the electoral campaign.
“An important political event is approaching. Our society does not want the events of 2004 to be repeated, so we should spare no efforts to hold these elections in a calm atmosphere,” Ashuba said before the meeting was closed for the press, Abkhaz news agency Apsnipress reported.
He also said that the candidates were not summoned “to teach” them how to act, but to speak openly about the upcoming elections.
Election campaign became heated after supporters of one of the candidates, Sergey Shamba, organized in Sokhumi an outdoor screening of an interview with Georgia’s notorious ex-defense minister Tengiz Kitovani who claimed that Alexander Ankvab was cooperating with Tbilisi during the war in early 1990s providing intelligence information.
After the closed-door meeting Ashuba said that the participants discussed “frankly” all the issues causing concerns; he downplayed recent confrontation between the two candidates dismissing notion that it caused tense situation in the region; he also tried to put blame on organizing outdoor screening of the video interview to individual supporters of Shamba not personally to the candidate himself.
“There were some remarks, issues, but I do not think it was organized by any of the presidential candidates – they are all wise people,” Ashuba said.
“We have stated that it is essential to treat each other patiently, respectfully and that the elections of the head of the state should pass without any tremors… The most important is that election results should not cause doubts of our people. It is very important that next day after the elections the contenders for the top position in the state could meet each other calmly and shake hands with each other,” Ashuba said, adding that none of the candidates was willing to stage revolutions.
He also said that issues related with voters list were also discussed, saying that no one, including the central election commission, was interested in falsifying the elections.