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How much for the local elections?

By Messenger Staff
Monday, May 31
Some statistical information has become available on the amount of money spent on the local elections so far. Current estimates are that GEL 25 million was allotted for these elections and around GEL 24 million spent. Of this, more than 6 million GEL was spent on services and equipment, more than GEL 16 on the salaries of those involved in the election process and around 1.5 million on miscellaneous expenses.

Commentators and observers consider that accounting for the allotted money means that the elections are fair. However these figures refer to money spent directly by the State on conducting the elections, whereas the various parties spend money on actual campaigning, and this is what needs to be monitored. Though most of the parties’ expenditure is declared there are some indirect expenses which are not recorded, although the money is spent. Analysts and politicians suggest that the largest amount has been spent by the ruling National Movement, which can accumulate extra money through manipulating administrative resources.

One of the leaders of the Labour Party, Giorgi Gugava, thinks that the local elections will actually cost around GEL 200-300 million in total, whereas Parliamentary and Presidential elections cost 1.5 billion each. Gugava goes further, suggesting that the ruling party accumulates this undeclared money through inflating the cost of mobile tariffs, electricity and gas tariffs, the petrol price and so on, in order to use it in its election campaigning. This is the reason petrol and mobile call prices never go down, thinks Gugava.