MOSCOW, May 30 (RIA Novosti) – The Abkhazian opposition has begun to form an interim government after the republic's parliament passed a vote of no-confidence in Prime Minister Leonid Lakerbaia last night.
But President Alexander Ankvab, who was urged to step down voluntarily, has yet to approve Lakerbaia’s resignation.
Abkhaz Security Council Secretary Nugzar Ashuba said the no-confidence vote is non-binding and the president can make the final choice. The motions were approved by 20 out of 21 lawmakers who were present at the session. The Abkhazian parliament consists of 35 lawmakers. Prime Minister Leonid Lakerbaia said he would resign if the opposition proves it can not only criticize but also work efficiently.
A mass protest in Abkhazia’s capital, Sukhumi, has been continuing for several days. The situation in Sukhumi escalated on Tuesday as the Abkhaz opposition staged a mass rally near the government offices, demanding the resignation of President Alexander Ankvab and the government. Later in the day, crowds of protesters seized administrative buildings in the city. Abkhaz President Alexander Ankvab called the events “an armed coup attempt.”
According to the opposition leader and former Abkhaz Vice President Raul Khadjimba, the main aim of the opposition in Abkhazia is the resignation of the President.
“The resignation of the President comes in the first place, everything else is just chain loops,” Khadjimba said Friday.
Khadjimba was nominated Thursday as head of the Provisional Council of People’s Trust, and said that dialogue was continuing with the current authorities.
"As one would say the dialogue is ongoing. Time will tell what the result will be," Khadjimba said, adding that the situation in the republic was calm.
The new caretaker government is comprised of predominantly opposition Coordination Council members and several lawmakers who are to cooperate on their every step with the parliament.
The council includes almost every opposition party chief that last year built a unity bloc called the "Coordination Council": Raul Hajimba and Daur Arshba from the Forum of National Unity, Beslan Butba from the party of Economic Development, Daur Tarba from United Abkhazia, Iakub Lakoba from the People’s Party of Abkhazia, lawmaker Akhra Bjania from the social movement Akhatsa, Daur Achugba and Vitaly Gabnia from a war veterans union Aruaa, Vitaly Bigvava from the social movement Abaash, Alyas Avidzba from the Young Abkhazia patriotic movement, Leonid Dzapshba from a civic union called "For the Legality Stability and Democracy," and Sergei Pigar from the Coordination Council of Russian Compatriots in Abkhazia.
Commenting on the situation in the breakaway republic, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said earlier this week that Moscow is concerned by the political tensions in Abkhazia and believes the crisis should be resolved through a legal process.
Abkhazia broke away from Georgia following an ethnically tinged war in 1992-1993, just after the collapse of the Soviet Union. More than a decade later, in 2008, Russia formally recognized the province as an independent state after a brief war with Tbilisi over another disputed Georgian region, South Ossetia. Many Abkhaz citizens have Russian passports.