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Sokhumi Reportedly Quiet, as Opposition Controls Governmental Offices
/ 12 Nov.'04 / 19:27
Civil Georgia

Bagapsh's supporter celebrating
after capturing the governmental offices.

RTR television footage.

The two main Abkhaz presidential rivals, Raul Khajimba and Sergey Bagapsh, held talks in an attempt to defuse tensions in the region, which escalated on November 12 after supporters of the opposition candidate Bagapsh burst into major governmental buildings and captured breakaway Abkhazia’s Parliament, President’s Administration and the Governmental Office.

Sergey Bagapsh told supporters that he has offered Khajimba to form a coalition government. He said that all the presidential candidates who ran in disputed October 3 elections should be represented in the government. Raul Khajimba made no comments after the talks.

Reports say that things are quiet in Sokhumi at the moment. Earlier, Bagapsh called on his supporters to preserves the calm in the region and urged them to disband. Sergey Bagapsh addressed his supporters from one of the windows of the Parliament, which was stormed by his supporters on Friday, according to the Regnum news agency.

Bagapsh confirmed that several people were wounded while his supporters were capturing the Parliament. Several shots were fired, as a guard tried in vain to prevent opposition protesters from breaking into the Governmental Office.

"We should remain calm and do the maximum we can to preserve peace in Abkhazia… We will take over power through the peaceful means," Bagapsh said.

Report say that after Bagapsh’s address his supporters started to disband. However, RIA Novosti news agency reported that armed supporters of Bagapsh still remain in the governmental buildings.

Earlier, on November 12, two simultaneous rallies of supporters of Sergey Bagapsh and Raul Khajimba were held in Sokhumi. Around 700 supporters of the pro-governmental presidential candidate Raul Khajimba, who demands repeat elections, were gathered outside the Abkhaz Governmental Office; while up to 3,000 supporters of the opposition candidate Sergey Bagapsh, who claims victory in October 3 elections, were gathered on Freedom Square.

In a statement issued on November 11, outgoing President Vladislav Ardzinba warned the Abkhaz people over a civil confrontation threat and called for repeat elections.

"The October [presidential] elections failed to reveal the real will of voters and triggered a threat of civil confrontation. Under such conditions, I, as acting Head of State, had to sign a decree over the holding of repeat elections in the Republic of Abkhazia," the appeal reads.

The de facto President stressed that the authorities would do their utmost to prevent any threat of civil confrontation and hold re-vote.

"Only repeat elections conducted without any pressure on the voters and authorities will help the country overcome the current crisis. I pin our hopes on the presidential candidates and will shake hands with that candidate who wins the elections," the de facto President added.

According to the October 29 order of the outgoing President, the repeat elections should be held within two months. But Sergey Bagapsh, who claims a victory in the elections, plans to be inaugurated as the President of the breakaway region on December 6.

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