On January 12, Raul Khajimba, the head of the unrecognized republic of Abkhazia, informed the local parliament of his decision to resign.
“The document says that the president is transferring the obligations and responsibilities of the head of state for the sake of peace and preserving stability in the region,” the presidential office reports.
Raul Khajimba has ruled Abkhazia since 2014. In September 2019, he won the presidential election. However, as the opposition considered the results to be rigged, mass protests started in the country. On January 9, the protesters stormed the building of the presidential administration in Sukhumi.
In the face of public unrest, the Supreme Court annuled the results of the recent presidential election; the new voting has been scheduled for March, 22.
According to Abkhazian law, Khajimba has the right to continue performing the duties until a new president is elected, but the opposition insisted on his immediate resignation.
The status of Abkhazia and South Ossetia is a key problem in Georgian-Russian relations. In August 2008, Georgia declared them the territories occupied by Russia; the stance was supported by the majority of Western countries. Only Russia, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Syria and Nauru earlier recognised Abkhazia’s and South Ossetia’s independence.