АЏП, Autumn 2016

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Ăзвеі • Ăzvei • Autumn 2016

Voting regulation for Adzhatians abroad to be changed

(27 September) - The government is working on plans to allow Adzhatians abroad to vote in their nearest embassies, instead of being forced to return to their native country in order to execute their democratic right, as is now the case.

Due to generally unfavourable flight connections from and to Adzhatia, many Adzhatians abroad generally don’t bother to vote in general elections. Special flights are organised to Moscow, Oslo, London, and Toronto around election dates, but these flights attract only few passengers.

The minister of justice and democratic affairs, Mr Vitaĺ Ăħcvehei, explains: “A simple majority of the Adzhatian diaspora lives in those four cities, but many more live scattered around the world; we cannot organise flights to pick up every one of them where they live.” Apart from large Adzhatian communities in Russia, Norway, the European Union, and in North America around Toronto and Detroit, it’s especially the smaller ones for which it is problematic to make the journey.

The opposition criticises the plans. According to a spokeswoman of PŎA, allowing people to vote in their embassies isn’t going to change anything. “Australia for instance is a big country; my party is not at all convinced if Adzhatians in Perth are willing to pay for a flight to visit our embassy in Canberra. It would be easier for them to vote by mail.”

According to minister Ăħcvehei however, a lot can go wrong with voting by mail. The government wants to be sure that every Adzhatian citizen’s vote can be cast without the suspicion that it can be tampered with before it reaches its destination.