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

Ankvab changes mind, proposes abolishing Vice President, not Prime Minister

On 31 January, President Ankvab sent a draft constitutional amendment to Abkhazia’s People’s Assembly that would abolish the position of Vice President. The proposal itself is not strange. Ankvab’s representative to the People’s Assembly Dmitri Shamba argues (as was pointed out here before) that the Vice President does not fulfill a clear function and that it is a post which few countries have, especially in combination with the post of Prime Minister (the only other country in Europe is Bulgaria). The most important purpose of the Vice Presidency has so far been to facilitate political alliances in the run-up to elections and to resolve the 2004 post-election crisis (although arguably that eventually proved unsatisfactory for Raul Khajimba precisely because the Vice President has so little power).

The reason why this decision is nonetheless somewhat surprising is that in late 2012, Ankvab had argued that Abkhazia should rather abolish the position of Prime Minister, as the Vice President enjoyed a direct popular mandate (although that logic is flawed, since Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates run on one ticket, and the former presumably plays the largest role in determining a voter’s choice).

Ankvab’s change of heart may have been influenced by (or may well have influenced) the announcement last December by Mikhail Logua that he was resigning as Vice President due to health reasons.

Filed under: Abkhazia, , , ,

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