Analysis, book reviews and photography from Abkhazia and the wider Caucasus — updates when time permits

Sergei Shamba succeeds Alyksandr Ankvab as Prime Minister of Abkhazia

The 12 December 2009 Abkhazian presidential election left many things as they were – Bagapsh won a second term and the composition of the cabinet is not likely to change radically. But since Alyksandr Ankvab was elected Vice President under Bagapsh, there was one vacancy: the Prime Ministership.

Today Bagapsh appointed Sergei Shamba to this position. Shamba has been the face of Abkhazian foreign policy ever since he was first named Foreign Minister on 7 May 1997, a position which he held for more than 12 years, interrupted only for half a year in 2004 when he ran in the presidential election that eventually brought Bagapsh to power.

Shamba’s appointed was not a complete surprise, since it had already been foretold by Abkhazian and Russian media, according to Civil Georgia. These same sources also predict that Shamba will be succeeded as Foreign Minister by his current deputy, Maksim Gvinjia. Still, in some ways it is unexpected. The Prime Ministership has always been the second-most important position in Abkhazia, second only to the Presidency. But presumably Ankvab’s move to the Vice Presidency is meant as a promotion, and he will want to give it more stature than before. This makes it unclear what responsibilities remain for the new Prime Minister and to what extend Shamba’s move is a promotion, given the amount of influence he has held as Foreign Minister.

Filed under: Abkhazia, Elections, , , , , , , ,

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