The parliament of Georgia’s breakaway region of Abkhazia has voted to hold early presidential elections in August, a deputy said on Saturday, in a move denounced by the prime minister as “revolutionary” after the opposition seized control. On Tuesday protesters broke into the capital’s presidential headquarters and opposition leaders formed a Provisional National Council in the Russian-backed province, which they say is now under their control since President Alexander Ankvab fled the capital.
“We asked him (Ankvab) to step down two days ago. Today we decided that we can simply set up new elections,” opposition deputy Beslan Butba told Reuters by telephone. The parliament’s speaker will act as president until the vote on August 24, Butba said.
On Friday, Ankvab, who is believed to be at a military base under Russian jurisdiction outside the main city of Sukhumi, said he would ignore an appeal by parliamentarians to quit and to sack his prime minister.
The vote for early elections was backed by 23 of the 24 members of the 35-seat parliament who were present at Saturday’s session, but Prime Minister Leonid Lakerbaya said the result was unconstitutional.