Abkhazian parliamentary election, 1996

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Parliamentary elections were held in Abkhazia on 23 November 1996, with a second round on 7 December.[1] There was also a simultaneous referendum held amongst Abkhazian refugees.

Background[edit]

The election was held in order to replace the former Abkhaz Autonomous Republic's Supreme Soviet which had split during the Georgian-Abkhazian conflict in 1993 with 28 deputies continuing in Abkhazia as the Abkhaz Supreme Soviet. The remaining 24 formed a parliament in exile in Georgia.[2]

However, international organisations and major countries declared that the election would be invalid.[2]

Electoral system[edit]

The elections were held using the two-round system; candidates had to receive over 50% of the vote in the first round to be elected, or a second round would be held. Voters received a list of candidates and crossed off all the names but that of the candidate they preferred.[3]

Campaign[edit]

A total of 78 candidates contested the 35 seats, of which only two were Georgians.[4] All candidates ran as independents.[5]

Results[edit]

Of the 35 seats, 30 were filled in the first round of voting. The 30 MPs elected in the first round included 19 Abkhazians, four Russians, three Armenians, two Georgians, one Greek and one Kabardian.[5] Voter turnout was reported to be 81%.

Referendum[edit]

In response to the elections, Georgia organised a referendum among refugees from Abkhazia, with polling stations opened in Moscow, St Petersburg, Podolsk and Sochi in Russia, Kiev in Ukraine, Trabzon in Turkey, Minsk in Belarus, Yerevan in Armenia, as well as in Greece and Israel.[3] The Georgian government said that over 99% of refugees agreed that elections in Abkhazia were invalid until refugees were allowed to return and its political status as part of Georgia was agreed.[2][3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Security Council extends mission in Georgia until 31 July United Nations Security Council, 30 January 1997
  2. ^ a b c "Abkhaz election offset by refugee referendum". The Jamestown Foundation. December 2006. Retrieved 2008-07-04. 
  3. ^ a b c "The elections in Abkhazia and the prospects for peace" (PDF). Parliamentary Human Rights Group. 1996-11-26. Retrieved 2008-07-04. 
  4. ^ Abkhazia, Nagorno-Karabakh to Hold Elections Reuters, 21 November 1996
  5. ^ a b Abkhazia Freedom House