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Political parties check their mailboxes for state financing

By Shorena Labadze
Wednesday, June 18
Political parties are waiting for notice from the Central Election Commission that they are eligible for a share of millions in state financing.

A CEC spokesperson said notification letters have already been sent out.

Parties which won more than five percent of the vote in parliamentary elections are entitled to annual state financing. Four parties qualify based on their performance in last month’s elections.

The Christian Democratic Movement, the only non-government party to take up its seats in parliament, has received its letter of confirmation.

Christian Democrat MP Levan Vepkhvadze said they filed for the financing as soon as they could, and received confirmation a few days ago.

The party will get roughly GEL 573 000 in annual state financing, more than twice the GEL 250 000 they spent on their election campaign, according to Vepkhvadze.

Other opposition parties are still waiting on confirmation of state financing. The United Opposition bloc and the Labor Party have moved to renounce their MPs’ status in parliament, in protest of what they say was a rigged election, but both groups are still legally entitled to the state money.

The United Opposition, which was made up of nine parties when it competed in the May elections, is to receive more than GEL 880 000 a year from the state, to be distributed equally to each party in the coalition.

United Opposition leaders say two politicians which split from the bloc recently have no “moral right” to a cut of the money. The law, however, is on their side and one of the politicians, Georgian Troupe leader Jondi Baghaturia, confirmed that he would collect his annual financing of GEL 97 000.

The Labor Party, which has blasted the government and parliament as criminal and illegitimate, denied media reports that it would decline its share of the money.

“It’s a decision made by the Council of Europe according to which the parties are financed. Why shouldn’t we get it?” asked party secretary general Giorgi Gugava.

The ruling National Movement will get the largest amount: more than GEL 1.7 million.

A National Movement press speaker said the party spent GEL 12 million on their election campaign.