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Russia Urges Abkhazia to Ensure Free Presidential Election

RIA Novosti

18:15 05/06/2014

MOSCOW, June 5 (RIA Novosti) - Moscow hopes that Abkhazia will hold a free and fair snap election after its president was asked to vacate the office earlier this month, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said Thursday.

"A snap presidential election in Abkhazia is scheduled for August 24. We hope that during the period of the electoral campaign the situation in Abkhazia will be stable, and that the authorities will ensure the free will of the citizens and guarantee their democratic freedoms," Lukashevich said.

A political conflict broke out last week between the ruling government and opposition movements in Georgia's former republic after crowds of anti-government protesters seized administrative buildings in the Abkhaz capital Sukhum.

Last Thursday, the Abkhaz parliament passed a vote of no confidence in Prime Minister Lakerbaia and offered President Ankvab to resign voluntarily. The next day it appointed Speaker Valery Bganba as the acting president and set an early presidential election for August 24. On Sunday the same week, Ankvab said in an address to the nation that he had submitted his resignation.

Moscow said on Monday it was ready to work with any future president and government of Abkhazia and hoped to strengthen bilateral ties with the nation in southern Caucasus. It also praised Alexander Ankvab for his role in 'preventing the violent development events, which, undoubtedly, would have led to most tragic consequences.'

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said earlier he respected the Abkhaz government and the opposition for finding strength to 'put the interests of their country above those of separate politicians' and showing ' genuine political wisdom.'

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