The Georgian Foreign Ministry condemned presidential election in breakaway Abkhazia as “a cynical act” by Russia and its “puppet regime”.
“Today the Russian occupying forces and puppet regime under their [Russia’s] control have carried out yet another cynical act in Georgia’s one of the regions, Abkhazia,” Nino Kalandadze, the Georgian deputy foreign minister, said.
“As the three-fourth of population is expelled from Abkhazia on the ethnic grounds and as Abkhazia is under the condition of occupation, such action [elections] will never be considered as legitimate and can never define the future of Abkhazia.”
“This is the reality well-known by the entire civilized part of the international community; therefore I want to call on the international community to assess this act adequately and strongly condemn it,” she said.
Kalandadze also said that those foreign citizens who have arrived in Abkhazia to observer election had violated the Georgian laws.
“As it seems they were under Russia’s influence. I hope that most of them do not have appropriate information, but some of them probably arrived there having awareness of [matter of facts] and by doing so they have violated not only the Georgian laws, but also came in conflict with internationally recognized principles,” the Georgian Deputy Foreign Minister said.
According to the Abkhaz authorities several dozens of foreign observers arrived in the region to monitor the presidential election.
Maxim Gvinjia, the breakaway region’s foreign minister, said it was disappointing that international organizations refused to send their observers.
"Of course it upsets me very much that many international organizations have ignored these elections... We have not asked them to recognize Abkhazia with their arrival, but to give unbiased assessment of how the elections will be held," Gvinjia said on August 25.
"Many observers came here despite the international community's pressure. You know that Georgia has been undertaking efforts through European structures, exerting pressure on those, who were willing to come; but most of them arrived anyway," he said.
Meanwhile, the breakaway region’s Central Election Commission reported that voter turnout was up to 49% by 3pm local time. Half of all 143,735 registered voters must turn out for the election to be valid.
Also on August 26, Georgia’s parliamentary vice speaker and leader of a small party, On Our Own, Paata Davitaia, said while condemning the Abkhaz vote, that late leader of the breakaway region, Sergey Bagapsh, was “killed by Russian criminal groups, which failed to seize land plots in Abkhazia” and added that whoever comes into power in the region would share the fate of Bagapsh if they refuse to obey Moscow’s orders and “relinquish Abkhaz lands to the Russian leadership. “The only salvation for Abkhazia,” he said, “is return back to Georgia’s fold.”