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Fair elections on May, 30: a myth or reality?13.04.2010 | 23:22
One of these days, Speaker of the Georgian parliament David Bakradze called upon the state officials to act solely within their competence and according to the rights given by the law during the coming local elections. At the same time, Bakradze gave a positive estimate of the memorandum signed between the Georgian Central Electoral Committee and the non-governmental organizations, which clearly states the rules of using administrative resources in the course of the elections and specifies definite limitations. Will the vice-speaker's appeal affect the transparency of the elections on May, 30?
"I would like to warn everyone that any wrong step and any interference on the part of the state officials is going to be severely punished and we will have to apply measures specified by the law in their respect", - Bakradze stated.
During the meeting of the parliament office, the speaker called upon all the political powers to build their activities in compliance with the memorandum signed with the non-governmental organizations and underlined that the Georgian government is interested in holding free competitive elections.
"We must make sure the elections go on in a transparent and democratic way", - the speaker stated, having called upon the inter-fractional group established in parliament to hold control over the process of using administrative resources in the course of the pre-election campaign and the elections themselves.
As is known, in February, President of Georgia Mikhail Saakashvili said that the local elections that are to be held at the end of spring all over Georgia, including the elections of the Mayor of Tbilisi should become a real example. "It will be a test of democracy and public culture. These elections should become a stride forward that will make us closer to Europe", - the president stated.
Saakashvili instructed the officials to provide the democratic holding of election, having stated that "this is a matter of national dignity", and called upon the European partners to send their observers to the elections. "Isn't it time for our county to become more civilized?" - Saakashvili exclaimed.
The opposition seems to be asking the same question in advance of the local elections. In the opinion of member of the Our Georgia - Free Democrats party Victor Dolidze, the elections on May, 30 will become "a test of democracy" for the country, the government and the opposition.
Should one expect that Saakashvili's and Bakradze's statements will come true and Georgia is going to hold fair elections? GeorgiaTimes correspondent put this question to the representatives of the Georgian opposition.
Irina Sarishvili, leader of the Imedi party
Bakradze's statements are mere words, they are nothing. The government never admitted and will never admit the use of administrative resources. What happens in Georgia today means that they are used already. For instance, we have got a very interesting law saying that Mayor of Tbilisi is not obliged to resign for the time of the elections and continues his usual activities. I believe the main resources of the authorities will be used directly on the day of elections.
Let us note that this time, the current authorities have got no necessity to use their capabilities; still, they are going to use them anyway. As is known, the Georgian opposition is currently split up. As to Tbilisi, they name over ten pretenders instead of getting together and finding a suitable candidate, for there can be only one person in power.
What is your forecast of the outcome of the elections to be held in the Georgian capital on May, 30?
I assume the authorities' candidate is going to take the first place. The second one will be evidently occupied by a candidate of the Christian-Democratic Movement Gia Chanturia. There is also a possibility that even if Chanturia outruns the pretender named by the authorities, the stealing mechanism will come into action. As to the opposition in general, unfortunately, I cannot see any part of it really working for victory. I think on the whole, the oppositional powers are going to gain about 10 percent; still, the elections are not a competition where the results shown by the participants form a team result.
What is the situation with the elections to Sakrebulo (the City Assembly) going to look like, in your opinion?
There is going to be the same thing with Sakrebulo. Though, perhaps, it will be presided by a well-known journalist, a candidate named by the Christian-Democrats Inga Grigolia.
Manana Nachbekia, Executive Secretary of The New Rights party
I doubt it that the statements made by Bakradze and other officials will come true. The point is that Mayor of Tbilisi Gigi Ugulava is actively using the administrative resource simultaneously with these statements. The situation is hardly going to change for the better unless the ruling United National Movement party shows its political will.
What is the way Ugulava is going to use the administrative resource?