Abkhaz president elect to have ‘low key’ inauguration

Alexander Ankvab, the winner of Abkhazia’s presidential election, has said he wants to be sworn in with little pomp, following the death of former president Sergei Bagapsh.

Ankvab garnered nearly 55 percent of the vote in the August 26 election in the tiny mountainous region on the Black Sea coast which declared independence from Georgia in 1999. Tbilisi continues to regard it as a breakaway region.

He will take the oath of office later this month.

A government spokesman said Ankvab wants the ceremony to be low key because it is only three months since former president Sergei Bagapsh died, aged 62, in a Moscow hospital after undergoing lung surgery.

“There will be no guests at the inauguration. Alexander Ankvab hopes this is understood,” government spokesman Kristin Bzhaniya told reporters on Monday.

Bagapsh became de facto president in 2004 and won recognition of Abkhazia’s independence from Moscow following its short-lived war with Georgia in 2008 over another disputed region, South Ossetia.

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