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Lull before the ballot-box

19.08.2011  |  21:19

Lull before the ballot-box. 21053.jpegGeorgia gradually starts getting ready for the elections. In the next two years, the country will undergo four large electoral periods. Government's main task is to legitimize Mikhail Saakashvili's transition from the presidential post to the position of a prime minister and enhance the United National Movement's standing. Watching the disassociated local opposition, it is difficult to believe that Tbilisi might have new masters. Well-known Georgian expert Gulbaat Rtskhiladze holds to the same viewpoint. He shared his forecasts of the


outcome of the upcoming elections with GeorgiaTimes. 

One of these days, head of CEC of the republic Zurab Haratishvili submitted to the public a strategic plan of electoral administration up to 2015. It will regulate elections to Parliament and Supreme Council of Adzharia scheduled for 2012 and the voting at 2013 presidential elections and 2014 local elections. "Electoral administration must be well-prepared for these elections and the strategic plan is an important element of the preparation process. It specifies the administration's mission, action principles and strategic purposes", - Haratishvili underlined. 

"Strategic plan is a document that can be modified basing on the real situation in the country and novelties introduced in the elective sphere. I hope these novelties will significantly improve the electoral administration's activity and the voting process itself", - he added. 

Assuredness of the head of the Georgian CEC that the plan will be helpful in holding a fair election causes one's envy. So far, the major part of the local opposition doubts that the upcoming voting - to elect the deputy corps and the president - will be held in compliance with the democratic principles, for the ruling establishment places its main stake on them. Constitutional amendments will enable the transition of the basic power from the nominal head of the state to PM, who, in his turn, will be nominated by parliamentary majority. 

Head of the Institute of Eurasia Gulbaat Rtskhiladze is sure that the current Georgian opposition will hardly hamper the ruling elite's plans. "A situation has developed when Saakashvili's domestic opponents are overtly discredited, both those who came out into the streets at the end of May and the "office" opposition trying to get through into Parliament and retain their deputy mandates by way of negotiating with the authorities. It was in 2007 that many of them proved to be helpless and invalid", - the expert told in an interview to GeorgiaTimes. 

"Even Saakashvili says the opposition is too weak and there is nothing to expect of it a priori. All the talks about changing electoral legislation simply look ridiculous", - our interlocutor added. 

He does not expect serious falsifications in favour of the United National Movement during the elections; considering the general political apathy of the population, it will mostly be the current Georgian government's supporters who will come to the ballot-boxes. Moreover, Gulbaat Rtskhiladze assumes that the authorities will deliberately rush several pseudo-oppositional parties into the parliament to create an impression of democratic voting. "The pre-election atmosphere is going to be rather calm. The major part of electors will simply ignore the voting procedure and the votes of those who will not vote for the ruling party will be distributed among other political forces", - Rtskhiladze said. 

Head of the Institute of Eurasia believes that the only factor capable of spoiling Mikhail Saakashvili's game is the complicated economic situation in the country. "There is crisis in the country, though the fact is not admitted by the authorities. Georgian government has to introduce new absurd taxes, as it was when the charge for garbage disposal was associated with electricity consumption. Prices are jumping; they've raised the route taxi rates and metro rates are also going to be increased soon. Meat price is over 20 laris. The capital aggravation of life conditions may as well become a decisive factor in the voting during the parliamentary and presidential elections", - Gulbaat Rtskhiladze is sure. 

Maxim Sergeev

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