Twelve parties will check voters lists
By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Tuesday, February 2Twelve political parties have applied to take part in the process of re-checking voters’ lists between February 5 and March 15, the Central Election Commission said on February 1.
GEL 1.2 million (about USD 680,000) of state funding will be made available for undertaking this work under amendments passed by Parliament in December 2009. All parties eligible for state funding are entitled to this additional finance for re-checking the voters’ list. GEL 1.2 million will be distributed equally to each eligible party, meaning that each will receive GEL 100,000. The deadline for political parties to declare a wish to take part in this process has passed and the Labour Party and the National Forum refused to submit applications.
Some opposition parties believe that a methodology should be worked out which would prevent funds designed for checking the voters lists being used inappropriately, “Some parties which do not intend to take part in the local elections want take part in rechecking the voters’ lists. It is very possible that some party will buy a car with its GEL 100,000 and say that it needs this car for checking the lists more effectively. That is why some mechanism should be adopted to prevent these finances being used inappropriately,” Levan Vephkhvadze from the Christian-Democratic Movement stated on February 1. The Alliance for Georgia has expressed the same position and made further demands. "Meaningful mechanisms should be created not only for re-checking the voters lists but also securing impartial and balanced media coverage and the impartiality and transparency of the law enforcement agencies, which would prevent them interfering in the electoral process,” Davit Usupashvili has stated.
The Industrialists say that too little money has been made available to direct this process effectively and properly. "GEL 100,000 for each political parties taking part in this process is not enough. Parties working separately on this will not serve any purpose," Zurab Tkemaladze mentioned. However no additional money will be allocated. "This money is budget money and thus it would be very difficult to take this opposition viewpoint into consideration and add more. However it would be better if political parties work on this together, so the process is effective,” Zurab Kharatishvili, the CEC Chair, agreed.
The National Agency of Civil Registry handed its list of eligible voters to the Central Election Commission on February 1. Head of the Agency Giorgi Vashadze and Chair of the Central Election Commission held a joint briefing in this regard. According to the new electoral law, the National Agency is obliged to submit voters lists to the CEC four times a year. The CEC should also be provided with a list of citizens who will become 18 before the day of elections.
According to the Civil Registry Agency, Georgia has over 3,700,000 eligible voters. The Ministries of Refugees and Probation are also obliged to provide lists of voters to the CEC.