Abkhazia profile

Acting president: Valery Bganba

Acting Abkhazian President and parliament speaker Valery Bganba speaks during a session of parliament in Sukhumi on 31 May 2014.

Parliamentary speaker Valery Bganba stepped in as acting president after President Alexander Ankvab resigned in response to the opposition's effective seizure of power.

Led by former Vice-President Raul Khajimba, Mr Ankvab's opponents had called a series of demonstrations and stormed the presidency building in protest against corruption and unemployment.

The protests were also reportedly motivated by fears that Mr Ankvab's policy of giving Abkhaz passports to ethnic Georgians in the south of the breakaway republic could change its demographic balance.

On taking power, Mr Bganba dismissed a series of officials appointed by Mr Ankvab, including the prosecutor-general and the heads of the mainly ethnic Georgian-populated districts of Tqvarcheli and Gali.

He also appointed Finance Minister Vladimir Delba as acting prime minister to succeed Leonid Lakerbaia, who resigned soon after President Ankvab.

Russian presidential aide Vladislav Surkov, who had been sent to mediate in the crisis, said Moscow would continue to work closely with the new leadership of "brotherly" Abkhazia.

Mr Bganba will be in office until snap presidential elections are held on 24 August 2014.

President: Alexander Ankvab (resigned)

Abkhaz president Alexander Ankvab Alexander Ankvab was a leading official in Soviet Georgia and later worked for Abkhazia's independence

Alexander Ankvab stood own in June 2014 in response to growing pressure from an alliance of opposition forces.

Originally a businessman, Alexander Ankvab was vice-president and close ally to President Sergei Bagapsh before taking over as acting president upon Mr Bagapsh's death in May 2011.

He went on to win a presidential election in August against his outgoing prime minister, Sergei Shamba, and opposition leader Raul Khajimba.

Born in 1952, Mr Ankvab was a leading official in Soviet Georgia who went on to support Abkhazia's campaign for independence. After a business career in Moscow, he returned to Abkhazia in 2000 and joined the opposition to then President Vladislav Ardzinba.

Between 2005-10, he served as prime minister to Sergei Bagapsh before becoming his vice-president after the 2009 election.

He is said to have survived at least six attempts on his life, including a deadly ambush on his convoy in February 2012 that was described by Russia as an attempt to destabilise the situation before Abkhazia's March 2012 parliamentary elections.

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