11 Jul. — The results of a referendum held the day before were announced in Abkhazia. In terms of overall turnout, it could qualify as a world anti-record – 1.23%.
The referendum on early presidential elections had been demanded by the opposition. The authorities of the partially recognized republic acquiesced to their demands; the expression of the popular will was scheduled for 10 July.
151 polling stations were operating in 33 districts, and 9.5m roubles had been allotted for the organisation of the referendum.
However, these efforts appeared to have been needed by nearly no one. The turnout was 1.23%: only 1,628 people came to the stations. Meanwhile, their votes were distributed in virtual equilibrium: 750 citizens (46.1%) were in favour of early elections and 761 (46.7%) were against then. Another 117 ballots were recognized as invalid.
Consequently, the referendum was officially recognised as having failed.
President Raul Khadjimba thanked the population for their “patience and wisdom”. He also called for the results of the referendum to be respected and attempts to divide society and undermine “the foundations of the state” to be eschewed.
“So it turns out that this was just a waste of our citizens’ money and time which produced no results at all,” said Minister of the Economy Adgur Ardzinba in reaction to the referendum’s failure.