Raul Khadjimba

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Raul Hajimba
Рауль Ҳаџьымба
President of Abkhazia
Elect
Taking office
September 2014
Prime Minister Vladimir Delba (Acting)
Beslan Butba (Designate)
Vice President Vitaly Gabnia (Elect)
Succeeding Valeri Bganba (Acting)
Prime Minister of Abkhazia
In office
22 April 2003 – 6 October 2004
President Vladislav Ardzinba
Preceded by Gennady Gagulia
Succeeded by Nodar Khashba
Vice President of Abkhazia
In office
12 February 2005 – 28 May 2009
President Sergei Bagapsh
Preceded by Valery Arshba
Succeeded by Alexander Ankvab
Minister of Defence
In office
19 December 2002 – 22 April 2003
Prime Minister Gennady Gagulia
Preceded by Vladimir Mikanba
Succeeded by Viacheslav Eshba
Personal details
Born (1958-03-21) 21 March 1958 (age 56)
Tkvarcheli, Soviet Union
Political party Forum for the National Unity of Abkhazia

Raul Hajimba (Abkhaz: Рауль Ҳаџьымба, Georgian: რაულ ხაჯიმბა; born 21 March 1958) is a politician from Abkhazia, leading the oppositional Forum of the National Unity of Abkhazia and President-elect of Abkhazia. Until 28 May 2009 Khajimba served as Vice President following the power-sharing agreement reached with current president Sergei Bagapsh to end the crisis that followed the October 2004 presidential election. Even though Khajimba had joined the government, the parties that had supported him did not and he was seen as the informal head of the opposition. During the second half of May 2009 a group of opposition parties expressed sharp criticism of government policy and on 28 May Khajimba resigned, stating that he shared the criticism. Khajimba again competed with Bagapsh for the Presidency in the 12 December 2009 election, which he lost in the first round with a 15,32% second place. He subsequently won the 24 August 2014 election.

Before becoming Vice President Khajimba had served as Prime Minister and as Minister of Defence of Abkhazia under Abkhazia's first President Vladislav Ardzinba.

Early career[edit]

A former KGB agent,[1] Khadjimba had previously served as both deputy prime minister (2001–2002) and defence minister (since 12 December 2002),[2] before succeeding Gennady Gagulia as Prime Minister on 22 April 2003.[3] He remained Prime Minister until October 2004. He had also served as head of the Abkhaz security service from 1999 to 2001.

As then-President Vladislav Ardzinba was seriously ill and did not appear in public during his term, Khajimba acted as a de facto head of state in his absence. In this role, he met a number of political leaders, including Igor Ivanov, foreign minister of Russia. He has been a sharp opponent of reunification with Georgia, and vehemently condemned Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili's proposal for a two-state federation in May 2004.

2004 and 2005 Presidential elections[edit]

Khadjimba was tipped as the favourite to win the October 2004 presidential elections, and was strongly endorsed by both outgoing president Ardzinba and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Both men campaigned on his behalf and dedicated significant resources to assisting the Khadjimba campaign. However, opposition candidate Sergei Bagapsh polled more votes on election day, in what was widely attributed as a backlash against the strong Russian influence in his campaign.

After the election, both Bagapsh and Khadjimba claimed victory, with Khadjimba alleging that electoral fraud in the pro-Bagapsh Gali region had been responsible for Bagapsh's win. Ardzinba soon dismissed Khadjimba as Prime Minister, replacing him with a compromise candidate, Nodar Khashba, and two months of drawn-out disputes followed, involving public protests, court action and parliamentary proceedings.

In December 2004, Khadjimba and Bagapsh came to an agreement which would see the pair run as part of a national unity ticket in repeat elections, with Khadjimba running as Bagapsh's Vice-President. As part of this deal, the position of vice-president was given expanded powers covering defence and foreign affairs. The joint ticket easily won the January 2005 election, winning more than 90% of the vote.

Vice Presidency[edit]

However, in the aftermath of the election win, many analysts have suggested that Khadjimba's executive authority would be somewhat limited under the new arrangement, with Bagapsh and his Prime Minister, Alexander Ankvab, likely to maintain ultimate control over the areas of policy nominally assigned to the vice-president.

The controversy resurfaced again in June 2008, when Khadjimba attended a congress of the Aruaa veteran organisation, of which he is a member. The congress issued a statement criticizing the Bagapsh administration’s “multi-vector foreign policy”, referring to the talks with Georgian and Western diplomats, and called for greater ties with Russia. The pro-Bagapsh politicians from the Amtsakhara veteran organisation described Khadjimba’s criticism of the government, in which he was a vice-president, “immoral”. Later that month, Khadjimba reiterated his stance towards Bagapsh’s foreign policy, stating that Abkhazia’s only protector could be Russia and using force would be inevitable for gaining control of the upper Kodori Valley in northeastern Abkhazia, the only part of Abkhazia under Georgian control at the time.[4][5][6][7] In August 2008, the Abkhazian military did take the upper Kodory Valley by force during the August 2008 war over South Ossetia.[8]

On 18 May 2009 the Forum of the National Unity of Abkhazia and Aruaa issued a press statement and on 20 May they gave a press conference with several other opposition parties, on both occasions voicing severe criticism over the achievements of the government and recent foreign policy decisions.[9] On 28 May Khajimba resigned, saying that he agreed with the criticism,[10] but attributing his failure to tackle corruption and improve security to lack of room for maneuvre and no support from the president Bagapsh whom he also accused of violating the 2004 powersharing agreement and criticized him for signing a border protection agreement with Russia in 2009.[11]

2009 Presidential election[edit]

The Russian newspaper Kommersant reported that during the summer of 2009 Khajimba had entered negotiations with Beslan Butba over forming an alliance for in the presidential election, but the pair fell out following the visit of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to Abkhazia. Putin had met with Khajimba, but not with Butba, and Butba considered this an unfriendly act on the part of Khajimba. During the nomination period for candidates, Khajimba then tried to form a team with Ardzinba. The alliance would have combined Ardzinba's backing by part of the business community and his financial resources with Khajimba's elector popularity. The pair said they would run together during two meetings with voters, and the idea was that they would receive the joint nomination by the Forum of the National Unity of Abkhazia. According to the Kommersant, in the end the pair could not agree on what positions they would get. Khajimba wanted the Presidency, and offered Ardzinba to become Prime Minister, but this was not acceptable to the latter. The congress of the Forum of the National Unity of Abkhazia planned on 29 October was called off, and Ardzinba was instead nominated by an initiative group that day.[12]

Khajimba had already been officially nominated for the Presidency by an interest group on 19 October,[13] and received the additional support on 20 October of the Forum of the National Unity of Abkhazia, Aruaa and Akhatsa.[14] Khajimba picked Vasilii Avidzba as his Vice Presidential candidate.

Nevertheless, on 18 November Khajimba and Ardzinba announced that they would continue to coordinate their campaigns, and that they had appointed chairman of Aruaa Vadim Smyr to lead this coordination.[15] On 20 November, Khajimba stated that he and Ardzinba had different visions on coming to power, but that he didn't consider Ardzinba his opponent, and that in the case of a second round, he, Ardzinba and Butba would support each other.[16]

A second round proved to be unnecessary, since incumbent President Sergei Bagapsh won a 61,16% first round victory. Khajimba came in second place with 15,584 votes, 15.32% of the total number cast.[17]

Chairman of the Forum of the National Unity of Abkhazia[edit]

On 12 May 2010, Raul Khajimba was elected Chairman of the FNUA, after the party congress had reduced the number of Chairmen from 2 to 1.[18]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Wheatley, Jonathan (2005), Georgia from National Awakening to Rose Revolution: delayed transition in the former Soviet Union. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd., ISBN 0-7546-4503-7.
  2. ^ "Регистрация средства массовой информации Эл №77 - 8262". Секретные материалы России. Retrieved 18 January 2009. 
  3. ^ Alexander Skakov. "Abkhazia at a Crossroads: On the Domestic Political Situation in the Republic of Abkhazia.". Iran and the Caucasus 9 (1): 159–186. doi:10.1163/1573384054068088. Retrieved 2008-07-10. 
  4. ^ Abkhaz VP: Force May be Needed to Regain Kodori. Civil Georgia. 21 June 2008.
  5. ^ (Russian) "Нам следует заручиться военно-политическим союзом с Россией": Обзор СМИ Абхазии (“We need to secure a military-political alliance with Russia”: Review of the Abkhaz press). Regnum. 20 June 2008.
  6. ^ (Russian) Депутат парламента Абхазии считает действия вице-президента Рауля Хаджимба аморальными (Member of the Parliament of Abkhazia considers Vice-President Raul Khadjimba’s actions immoral). Regnum. 12 June 2008.
  7. ^ (Russian) Оппозиция во власти и власть в оппозиции: Абхазия встает на выборные рельсы (Opposition within authorities and authorities in opposition: Abkhazia on the election track). Regnum. 11 June 2008.
  8. ^ "Kodori Under Abkhaz Control". Civil Georgia. August 12, 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-16. 
  9. ^ Fuller, Liz (2009-05-24). "Abkhaz Leadership, Opposition Exchange Accusations". Caucasus Report (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty). Retrieved 2009-05-29. 
  10. ^ "ВИЦЕ-ПРЕЗИДЕНТ РАУЛЬ ХАДЖИМБА УШЕЛ В ОТСТАВКУ" (in Russian). Apsnypress. 2009-05-28. Retrieved 2009-05-29. 
  11. ^ Split emerges in Abkhaz government. Moscow News №20. May 28, 2009
  12. ^ Allenova, Olga (2009-11-02). "Сергей Багапш столкнется с поддержанными конкурентами" (in Russian). Kommersant. Retrieved 2009-11-15. 
  13. ^ Kuchuberia, Anzhela (2009-10-19). "Рауль Хаджимба примет участие в выборах президента Абхазии" (in Russian). Caucasian Knot. Retrieved 2009-10-19. 
  14. ^ Kuchuberia, Anzhela (2009-10-20). "Оппозиционеры поддержали выдвижение Хаджимбы кандидатом в президенты Абхазии" (in Russian). Caucasian Knot. Retrieved 2009-10-21. 
  15. ^ "Выпуск №555-556-557-558" (in Russian). Apsnypress. 2009-11-18. Retrieved 19 November 2009. 
  16. ^ Kuchuberia, Anzhela (2009-11-20). "Рауль Хаджимба пожаловался на власти Абхазии в Центризбирком" (in Russian). Caucasian Knot. Retrieved 21 November 2009. 
  17. ^ Kuchuberia, Anzhela (14 December 2009). "ЦИК Абхазии: на выборах президента победил Сергей Багапш (Видео)". Caucasian Knot (in Russian). Retrieved 20 May 2010. 
  18. ^ Kuchuberia, Anzhela (13 May 2010). "Рауль Хаджимба возглавил оппозиционный "Форум народного единства Абхазии"". Caucasian Knot (in Russian). Retrieved 19 May 2010. 
Political offices
Preceded by
Vladimir Mikanba
Minister of Defence
2002–2003
Succeeded by
Viacheslav Eshba
Preceded by
Gennady Gagulia
Prime Minister of Abkhazia
2003–2004
Succeeded by
Nodar Khashba
Preceded by
Valery Arshba
Vice President of Abkhazia
2005–2009
Succeeded by
Alexander Ankvab
Preceded by
Valeri Bganba
Acting
President of Abkhazia
Elect

2014–present
Incumbent
Party political offices
Preceded by
Daur Arshba
Leader of the Forum of the National Unity of Abkhazia
2010–present
Incumbent
Preceded by
Astamur Tania