22 October 2012, 09:00

Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of October 15-21

First sitting of the newly elected parliament of Georgia and nomination of Bidzina Ivanishvili to the post of prime minister; observers' statements about violations at elections to the Legislative Assembly of Krasnodar Territory; outcomes of parliamentary elections in North Ossetia, where "Patriots of Russia" were especially successful; action in Baku demanding dissolution of Azerbaijani parliament; restoration of Chechen districts abolished in 1944, – look these and other events in the Caucasus in the review of the week of October 15-21, 2012, prepared by the "Caucasian Knot".

Georgia: newly elected parliament holds its first sitting; Ivanishvili nominated as Prime Minister

On October 21, the city of Kutaisi hosted the first sitting of the new convocation of the Georgian parliament, elected on October 1. During the event, the MPs unanimously adopted a resolution recognizing the powers of the newly elected Deputies, and elected – by the majority of votes – David Usupashvili, a member of the coalition "Georgian Dream", to be the chairman of the parliament.

On October 17, President of Georgia Mikhail Saakashvili officially presented Bidzina Ivanishvili, the leader of the "Georgian Dream", as a candidate for the post of the Prime Minister of Georgia; and on the eve, it was reported that Saakashvili had signed a decree to restore Ivanishvili's Georgian citizenship. The decree will come into force after Ivanishvili's French citizenship has been terminated.

Krasnodar Territory: two parties pass to territorial parliament; election violations reported

According to the preliminary outcomes of the elections to the Legislative Assembly of the Krasnodar Territory of the fifth convocation held on October 14, the "Edinaya Rossiya" (United Russia) Party has won 69 percent of votes, the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF) – 8 percent, the Liberal-Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR) and the "Spravedlivaya Rossiya" (Fair Russia) Party – 4 percent each. The voter turnout was 45.3 percent. Thus, only the "Edinaya Rossiya" and the CPRF have conquered the threshold and passed through into the territorial parliament.

Activists of the "Yabloko" and "Spravedlivaya Rossiya " Parties assert that the violations fixed in the course of voting cast doubts on the reliability of election results. The election office of the CPRF also treated the territorial elections as illegitimate. The Association "The Vote" fixed about 200 violations; however, officials from the ruling party and the Territorial Central Election Commission (CEC) called the elections fair.

North Ossetia: "Patriots of Russia" are runners-up at the republic's parliamentary elections

According to the preliminary results of the October 14 elections to the regional parliament of North Ossetia, announced by the local CEC, the relatively new party "Patriots of Russia" took the second place ahead of the "Spravedlivaya Rossiya" and CPRF. In total, the Edinaya Rossiya" – the winner – has received 38 seats; the "Patriots of Russia" – 12 seats; the CPRF and "Spravedlivaya Rossiya" – 4 seats each; and one mandate went to a self-promoting candidate. The "Patriots" themselves believe that the outcomes had been fabricated; and the elections "were accompanied by a large number of violations." On October 16, at the rally "For Fair Election Outcomes", supporters of the party adopted a resolution, which demanded from the CEC of North Ossetia not to announce the final outcomes, until all the complaints and applications, including those from other parties had been considered.

Earlier, violations at several polling stations had been announced by the CPRF and the "Spravedlivaya Rossiya". In the opinion of the head of the republic Taimuraz Mamsurov, the elections of the MPs had been well-organized and very energetic, and became "a real democratic instrument of influencing the authorities." On October 28, the second round of elections will be held to define the fate of the 11 seats at single-mandate constituencies, where the voting on October 14 did not reveal the winners.

Azerbaijan: oppositionists rally demanding dissolution of parliament

On October 20, the central Baku hosted a protest action demanding to dissolve the parliament. It was announced through the Facebook by the ad hoc group named "Dissolve Parliament". The executive power of the Azerbaijani capital refused to sanction the rally in the applied place, offering to do it in the outskirts of the city; however, opposition activists still occupied the central part, chanting "Resign!" "Dissolve Parliament!" and "Down with Corruption!" An hour before the start of the event, police units took the surveillance over Fountain Square and began detaining individual activists – not only men, but also women.

The detainees were dragged into police vans of busses, which had been taken away from city routes; a woman-protester felt bad as a result of the police pressure. Besides, about 50 participants of the sitting of the Supreme Madjlis of the "Musavat" Party, who tried to take part in the action, were also detained. Ten protesters were sentenced to administrative arrests by several district courts of Baku. The protest action was attended also by the members of the Civil Movement for Democracy "Public Chamber" (GMDPC), who had planned to hold on October 13 their own march-rally demanding to disband the parliament, in the centre of Baku. However, after receiving a refusal of the city authorities to sanction it, decided to postpone the action and challenge the refusal in the court.

Chechnya: parliament restores two districts, abolished in 1944

On October 18, the Chechen Parliament passed a bill to restore the two mountainous districts of the republic – the Cheberloev and the Galanchozh Districts, which were abolished in 1944 after the deportation of Chechens to Kazakhstan and Central Asia. Thus, the map of Chechnya will now have two new municipalities; and the overall number of districts is now 17.

This decision was taken shortly after the head of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov had raised the issue of establishing the administrative border with Ingushetia (the subject of dispute was the Sunzha District, included both into Chechnya and Ingushetia). Both republics have set up special commissions; and on October 6, it was announced that they had finalized a draft agreement and a description of the border.

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