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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