The messenger logo

Direct election of Mayor to be held only in Tbilisi, ruling party says

By Mzia Kupunia
Thursday, November 19
Direct election of the Mayor will apply to Tbilisi only, Georgian ruling party officials said on Wednesday, contradicting the statement made by President Saakashvili at the UN General Assembly Session that direct Mayoral elections would be held in all Georgia’s major cities – Kutaisi, Batumi, Rustavi and Poti.

Pavle Kublashvili, Chairman of Parliament’s Legal Issues Committee, said that Saakashvili had promised to hold Mayoral elections in Tbilisi only during his address to Parliament in July. “Consequently we are making this promise real,” he said. According to Kublashvili the situation in Tbilisi is different from other cities due to its number of residents and “political pluralism.”

Speaking on the talk show Dialogue with David Paijadze on Georgian Public Broadcaster, Kublashvili noted that, “This does not mean that we trust the other cities less.” He also commented on the 30 percent threshold for Tbilisi Mayoral elections, saying that “this is the maximum barrier that the ruling party will agree to set.” The candidate topping the poll at these elections will have to win at least 30% of the vote under this rule.

The parties working on Election Code amendments agreed to set the 30 % threshold last week, although Irakli Alasania’s Alliance for Georgia dissented, demanding that the barrier be raised to 50%+1 vote. “If Alasania refuses to join the working group, the final decision on the threshold will not be taken in the format of the group, however we will try to decide the issue through separate meetings and consultations with the representatives of Georgia’s political spectrum,” Kublashvili said.