President confirms election date and US Ambassador says that Russian interference is expected

President confirms election date and US Ambassador says that Russian interference is expected

The FINANCIAL -- President of Georgia Salome Zurabishvili has named the date of parliamentary elections and elections of the Supreme Council of the Autonomous Republic of Adjara within Georgia. The 2020 parliamentary elections will be held in a different manner, with 120 seats in parliament distributed based on the party-list electoral system and the remaining 30 per the majoritarian model. The parties or election blocs will be able to enter parliament if they receive at least one per cent of total votes. US Ambassador to Georgia Kelly Degnan said that Georgia should expect Russian interference in the upcoming parliamentary elections.

Salome Zurabishvili said that 30 years ago, on October 28, Georgia held democratic elections and stated that we should continue this tradition and represent our country to the world as an extremely democratic country. Zurabishvili also said that she signed the election declaration act today and parliamentary elections in Georgia wil be held on date provided by the Constitution. She added that she would like to address the public and urge everyone to conduct this period, these two months leading up to the elections, as peacefully as possible.

The citizens of Georgia will elect 150-member parliament through a mixed electoral system with 120 deputies elected through proportional-party lists and 30 lawmakers elected as majoritarians from single-mandate constituencies. The elections are held through a significantly modified electoral system – following months-long protests that started in June 20, 2019, and lengthy foreign mediated negotiations between the ruling Georgian Dream and opposition parties, the Georgian Parliament increased proportional representation from 77 to 120 and decreased majoritarian seats from 73 to 30, civil.ge reported.

Zurabishvili has named October 31 as the date of parliamentary elections and elections of the Supreme Council of the Autonomous Republic of Adjara within Georgia. According to Georgia’s constitution, the parliamentary elections should be held in October, but it is up to the president to set an exact date no later than two months before the voting day. As for the regular elections of the Supreme Council of Autonomous Republic of Adjara, it shall be held on the last Saturday of October of the calendar year during which the term of authority of the Supreme Council expires. By Georgian law, the president calls the date of the elections of the Supreme Council by cosigning the Georgian prime minister. In addition, the barrier for a party to enter parliament has been lowered and is now not three, but only one percent, according to agenda.ge.

US Ambassador to Georgia Kelly Degnan said that Georgia should expect Russian interference in the upcoming parliamentary elections and one of the ways Russia may interfere in the parliamentary elections is to spread disinformation campaigns. She also said that the US and international donors have an initiative aimed at raising the awareness of the Georgian public and helping Georgians to distinguish fake news from verified information. She added that political leaders should also provide information to the public on issues that are important to them and this is necessary to ensure that voters arrive at the polling station prepared and informed.

It should be noted that, 68 political parties had submitted application for electoral registration at the Election Administration, out which 53 were previously under discussion, 14 political parties were registered immediately and one was rejected to be registered. 

Members of the European Parliament pointed out that the upcoming parliamentary elections will be “pivotal in confirming Georgia’s democratic credentials” and expressed their hope for an electoral campaign marked by fair competition. MEPs underline the importance of editorial independence and non-discriminatory coverage of political views in programmes by private and, in particular, public broadcasters during the upcoming electoral campaign. 

During an election year, it is of critical importance that the Georgian authorities and all political actors conduct themselves responsibly and live up to their commitments to each other and to their international partners, so as not to let their achievements and aspirations fall victim to internal political tension,” said Parliament’s standing rapporteur on Georgia Sven Mikser (S&D, Estonia). 

In July of 2020 The Georgian Foreign Minister, David Zalkaliani held a meeting with NATO and EU Officials. The sides welcomed the steps taken by the Georgian Government towards strengthening democracy, including by adopting constitutional amendments, and electoral system reforms.

European Parliament salutes the strengthening of EU-Georgia relations

Author: The FINANCIAL

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