“Reforms are necessary to avert disaster” – opinion on the crisis in Abkhazia

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Crisis in Abkhazia

Renowned director Ibrahim Chkadua delves into the intricate crisis unfolding in Abkhazia and presents a potential resolution.

It’s only February, yet Abkhazia has witnessed a flurry of events that could easily fill an entire year, predominantly characterized by negativity.

These events include nocturnal voting regarding the transfer of the Pitsunda state dacha to Russia, deliberations on the potential enactment of a foreign agents law, a devastating fire at the National Art Gallery, a gasoline blockade, and a declaration by the Russian Foreign Ministry labeling our republic as unsafe for tourism, among others.

The crisis in both the domestic political and foreign policy arenas is escalating rapidly, akin to a snowball rolling downhill. All signs point to its culmination being imminent, typically manifesting in a shift of power or parliamentary confrontation in Abkhazia.

As the saying goes, “God forbid I’m wrong!”

It appears sensible to examine the situation and future prospects from a perspective slightly distinct from that presented by social networks, the authorities, and the opposition.

The present crisis is structural and did not emerge overnight but rather over many years, dating back to the early 2000s by my estimation.

Presidential elections are slated for next year in Abkhazia. However, conducting them amidst such circumstances would likely consign the republic to another cycle of crisis.

I would like to propose a model for navigating our way out of this all-encompassing crisis, which risks culminating in collapse.

What we require are not merely superficial reforms, but rather fundamental ones that could potentially avert a catastrophe and afford the republic an opportunity for sustained development.

In summary:

  • There is a need to redistribute the powers of the president.
  • Parliamentary elections should be conducted using a mixed system.
  • A radical overhaul of the executive power and its structures, as well as judicial reform and local government reform, are imperative.
  • It would be preferable to shorten the presidential term to 3-4 years instead of 5, as in a small republic like ours, one can demonstrate effectiveness within this timeframe.

I would also propose abolishing the position of vice president, given that all except the current one resigned prematurely.

However, all of these potential changes require thorough discussion by specialists, both local and possibly invited from abroad.

To avoid falling into the trap of election promises once again, it appears prudent not to rush into elections until the reforms have been implemented.

Therefore, upon the expiration of the current president’s term, it would be preferable for either the parliament or a national assembly, with the full consensus of political forces, to appoint a reform executor for a term of one year. During this period, a special commission, in collaboration with the main political forces and parliament, would develop the reforms, which would then be adopted through a referendum or other appropriate means.

However, it is possible that the current president may choose to implement these reforms during the remaining time before the elections, which would be even more advantageous. The same applies to the current composition of parliament and the leaders of the main political forces. This presents an opportunity for them to leave a positive legacy in the history of Abkhazia.

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