SUKHUM / AQW'A — Three members of the Republic of Abkhazia's Parliament have openly expressed their views on a recent statement by President Aslan Bzhania. The President's call for the adoption of a controversial bill regarding apartment law has triggered a wide array of reactions among the legislative body.
The proposal, which has been fervently pushed by the President for several months despite numerous objections from the public, pertains to the legal status of apartment-hotels and apartments. His recent statement at a public chamber meeting, where he implored the parliament to hasten their decision, has raised eyebrows among lawmakers. Bzhania said, "We will not delay and chew this over for a hundred years. We will have a review in July, and the parliament must decide. It must! It must!"
This raised an immediate response from three deputies of the People's Assembly - Erik Rshtuni, Kan Kvachia, and Naur Narmania. They held a press briefing in Sukhum, where they criticized the President's tone and argued that such proclamations are a violation of the Constitution and an undue pressure on the legislative branch.
Erik Rshtuni quoted the Abkhazian Constitution to remind everyone of the independence of the legislative branch. "The state power in the Republic of Abkhazia is carried out on the basis of separation into legislative, executive, and judicial. The legislative, executive, and judicial branches of power are independent," he stated, citing Article 7 of the first chapter of the Constitution.
On the subject of the proposed apartment bill, Rshtuni disclosed that the Parliament is currently in the process of examining it. He stressed that no attempts would be made to expedite its review. "We have a legal policy committee meeting tomorrow, where we'll discuss this issue with various political parties and public organizations," he said, noting the absence of a zoning system, urban planning code, and a land cadastre system as fundamental areas of law-making that are currently lacking in the country.
Naur Narmania rebuked the President's peremptory tone and took a firm stance against any obligation towards him. He emphasized that the only obligation of a deputy is towards the homeland and its people. "We cannot permit the sale of real estate to foreign individuals and companies while striving to ensure the well-being and prosperity of future generations," he stated, affirming his intent to vote against the apartment law bill.
Kan Kvachia extended an invitation to all journalists to attend a committee hearing on the apartment law scheduled for tomorrow, which will involve both political parties and public organisations. This public engagement underlines the lawmakers' commitment to a transparent review process and the democratic values upheld by the Republic of Abkhazia.
Kan Kvarchia also declared his intention to suggest that the bill should be sent back to the President for revision:
"Apart from a few deputies, everyone else has actually condemned this statement and took it as pressure on the parliament. We have a committee meeting tomorrow, and I will ask for this bill to be returned to the president. As one of the opposition leaders, of course, I could stand up and say that I do not accept this law in any form. As a legislator, of course, I am obliged to consider any bill. 'Aidgylara' [socio-political movement -Ed.] and I directly introduced two or three, in my opinion, very important changes to this law. In the form in which the law exists today, it is completely unacceptable for me even to accept it at first reading. If we take it as a basis and accept it at first reading, I will consider that we have just changed our principles, we start to give up our country, our people and people's hope for a bright future tomorrow."
Kvarchia emphasized that the deputies would be open to revisiting the apartment law if the authorities are willing to reconsider and implement the proposed amendments. He urged the authorities to be cautious with their pronouncements and to interact with the parliament within the bounds of the law, in a manner that respects the constitution and the country's democratic principles.