10 Jan 2020 23:04

Court ruling cancelling outcome of Abkhaz presidential election has taken effect, must be abided by immediately - lawyer

SUKHUM. Jan 10 (Interfax) - The Abkhaz court's ruling cancelling the outcome of the presidential election in Abkhazia on Friday has taken effect and must be abided by immediately, a lawyer for opposition presidential candidate Alkhas Kvitsinia said.

The cassation board of the Abkhaz Supreme Court ruled on Friday to invalidate the Central Elections Commission's (CEC) decision to name Raul Khajimba the winner in the second round of the presidential election held last fall. The Supreme Court's cassation board also overturned a lower court's ruling that upheld the CEC's decision.

The Supreme Court's ruling means that a new presidential election must be called in Abkhazia.

"The Supreme Court's administrative board has resolved on Alkhas Kvitsinia's motion seeking the invalidation of the CEC decision on the outcome of the election that the decision shall be overturned in full and a new decision made on the case. The CEC decision on the outcome of the election shall be cancelled and new elections shall be called within the timeframe determined by the law," Judge Temur Tarba said in handing down the ruling.

Opposition activists and supporters started a protest demonstration in Sukhum on January 9, attempting to storm the presidential office. The Abkhaz opposition party Aitaira (Revival) called on President Raul Khajimba to resign in order to avert further deterioration of the situation in Abkhazia and not to endanger the security of its citizens. Protesters blockaded the presidential office building later in the evening.

Opposition supporters insisted that Khajimba did not actually garner enough votes to win the presidential election in 2019 and demanded that a new election be called.

The presidential office, for its part, described the events that took place in Sukhum on Thursday as a coup attempt, and Khajimba called on the people not to fall for provocations and vowed to declare a state of emergency if necessary.

The Abkhaz parliament passed a resolution late on Thursday urging Khajimba to step down voluntarily to help stabilize the situation in the republic. Abkhaz Defense Minister Mirab Kishmaria called on the government and the opposition to reach a compromise.

President Khajimba said he was staying in the office despite the calls for his resignation.