Georgia blasts plans for Abkhaz referendum

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Abkhaz President Vladislav Ardzinba on 31 August signed a decree on holding a referendum simultaneously with the 3 October presidential poll, in which he is the sole candidate, ITAR- TASS reported. Voters will be asked whether they approve the constitution adopted by the breakaway republic's parliament on 26 November 1994, which describes Abkhazia as "a sovereign and democratic republic." They will also be asked to approve or reject a planned constitutional amendment reducing the term for which judges are appointed from life-long to five years, according to Caucasus Press. In Tbilisi, Georgian presidential foreign policy adviser Levan Aleksidze termed the proposed referendum "an abuse of moral and international law," given that the ethnic Georgian population of Abkhazia fled in 1992-1993. LF
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