Presidential and parliamentary elections in Abkhazia are pluralistic and competitive. They have led to the transfer of power from government to opposition forces. This in itself is a remarkable fact in the post-Soviet context, where the outcome of elections very often is determined in advance by the ruling elite. The article explains how and why this form of electoral democracy could occur in Abkhazia, arguably the most ethnically heterogeneous of all post-Soviet de facto states. Drawing on a wide variety of primary sources and data from within Abkhazia, particularly interviews with key players, the author describes the remarkable willingness of the main political actors to compromise and assesses to what extent Abkhazia’s democratic credentials are sustainable

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