"We know the Center won't calm down, but we, on our part, will do everything to preserve peace and stability in the region," Mr. Abashidze said in a Mtavari Gazeti interview published on Thursday.
In Mr. Abashidze's words, "if the present leadership of Georgia does not let the Revival party into parliament (the Adzharian leader heads the party), this will boomerang." "Shevardnadze also falsified elections, but he did it with flexibility inherent in him. Experience told him where one can do everything unpunished and where the abyss begins. At first, he managed to do it, but then lost the instinct of self-preservation," the autonomy head said.
Mr. Abashidze recalled that he intends to hold in Adzharia a referendum on who the autonomy's electorate voted for at parliamentary elections in Georgia on March 28.
"The elections were held with gross violations. The Georgian leadership accuses Adzharia of this. That's why, with the help of the referendum, we will show the world community to whom the Adzharian population rendered real support," Mr. Abashidze said.
In his words, the present Georgian leadership is trying to spread its influence "in everything and everywhere." Mr. Abashidze ruled out the possibility to hold early elections of the autonomy head and said they will "be held on that very day, as is envisaged by Adzharia's Constitution" (According to the autonomy's Fundamental Law, elections are to take place next year).
The head of Adzharia said he had already chosen a successor for him. "He will be tougher than me. He will have to defend all we have achieved for the recent years," Mr. Abashidze said.
He said his son is not on the list of successors, noting that Giorgy Abashidze has "other plans and interests." According to the latest data of the Georgian Central Election Commission, only two parties secured parliamentary seats for them on March 28. These are the ruling party "National Movement - Democrats" and the opposition political bloc "Industrialists - New Right." Aslan Abashidze's Revival party did not clear the 7% hurdle necessary to enter parliament.
Meanwhile, Gamlet Chipashvili, the head of Adzharia's mission in Tbilisi, confirmed to Novosti-Georgia on Thursday that the elections of the republic's new head would be held in terms established by the autonomy's Constitution.
In this way, he commented on the demands by opposition representatives (in particular, Our Adzharia movement leaders) in regard to holding early elections of the autonomy's head and removing Aslan Abashidze from this post.
"The opposition wants a lot, but relevant laws are required for this," he added.