MOSCOW, August 26 (Itar-Tass) —— Abkhazian residents in Russia may vote in Moscow and Cherkessk at the upcoming presidential election.
Two polling stations will be set up in the Russian territory: No.4 in Moscow and No.5 in Cherkessk, Abkhazian Ambassador to Russia Igor Akhba said at a news conference here on Tuesday.
“The early presidential election will be held on August 26. This is a festive day for us, since this date is connected with the recognition of our independence by Russia,” the ambassador said. According to Akhba, in compliance with Abkhazian legislation, the diplomatic mission is charged with holding elections outside the country’s territory.
“The commission will consist of 15 people in Moscow, mostly the embassy’s staff members and in Cherkessk – 12 people,” Akhba informed. “We have taken all measures for the commission’s normal work so that citizens could express their political will.”
The ambassador emphasised at the same time that one can vote only by showing the Abkhazian domestic passport (green colour). Then, a citizen receives a stamp in a document and will be put on the list. As for security, the ambassador said that 20 officers of the Abkhazian Interior Ministry would be present in Moscow, while Russian law enforcers will stand around the polling station.
Meanwhile, Akhba hopes for a higher turnout in Moscow as against the previous presidential elections.
In turn, chairman of polling station No. 4 Oleg Bartsits noted that citizens might vote from 08.00 in the morning till 20.00 in the evening. At the same time, he noted in connection with novelties in legislation that three observers from each candidate would be present at each polling station. “The main principle of the Central Election Commission’s work is openness and transparency,” Bartsits emphasised. “We are interested that nobody would have doubts in objectivity of holding the elections.”
According to the latest data, 168,000 Abkhazian residents received the domestic republican passports. Incidentally, 90 percent of them have also Russian citizenship. Some 1,400 people voted in Moscow at the past elections of the Abkhazian president.
The early presidential election was caused by unexpected death on May 29 of Abkhazia’s Head Sergei Bagapsh. Three candidates, Alexander Ankvab, Raul Khadzhinba and Sergei Shamba aspire presidency.
Moscow hopes that the election “will be in a quiet democratic atmosphere,” spokesman of Russia’s Foreign Ministry Alexander Lukashevich said on Thursday.
Russia’s representatives of the Central Elections Commission and of the Federal Council will observe the election, he said.
“Whatever choice Abkhazia’s people make, it will be for the benefit of further development of friendly relations with Russia,” Lukasevich said. “We have a solid base of the Agreement on friendship, cooperation and mutual assistance between Russia and Abkhazia, and the long history of bilateral relations,” he said.