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EU, Georgia Shun 'So-Called Elections' In Breakaway Abkhazia

  • RFE/RL

A man casts his vote in Sukhumi during legislative elections held in the breakaway Abkhazia region on March 12.

The European Union says it will not recognize what it described as "so-called 'elections'" conducted on March 12 by Russia-backed separatists who control Georgia's Abkhazia region.

Maja Kocijancic, spokeswoman for EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, said on March 13 that the EU "supports the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Georgia, as recognized by international law."

She added that "the European Union does not recognize the constitutional and legal framework in which these elections have taken place."

The United States also does not recognize elections in Abkhazia.

The Georgian Foreign Ministry has also condemned the legislative voting, calling it "yet another attempt to legitimize the ethnic purge, military intervention, occupation, and results of Russian aggression being carried out against Georgian statehood."

Abkhazia broke from central government control in a 1992-93 war. Russia recognized Abkhazia and breakaway South Ossetia as independent countries after fighting a five-day war against Tbilisi in 2008 and maintains thousands of troops in the two regions.

The election commission in Abkhazia's de facto government said on March 13 that 12 candidates won mandates in the 35-seat legislature in the first round and that runoff votes would be held in 22 other electoral districts in two weeks.

In one district, the election was voided due to ballot irregularities and a new vote will be held in two months.

The commission said voter turnout exceeded 50 percent.

With reporting by civil.ge, apsny.ge, Interfax, and TASS
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