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Possibilities for the amendments in the elections code

By Messenger Staff
Friday, December 24
As it is already known, 8 opposition parties are conducting negotiations and meetings with the ruling authorities regarding the introduction of amendments into the elections code. However, the process seems to be quite long and difficult. It should also be noted from the beginning that the existing elections code has been satisfying the government. However there are some discrepancies in it as well. International organizations are highlighting the necessity of addressing these issues.

Now, opposition parties, reinforced by the support of international bodies, want to change the election environment for the better. The 2010 Economist Democracy Index rating recently showed that Georgia is not in the best possible position concerning democracy within the country. This is a challenging result if we consider that the Rose Revolution is considered as a beacon of democracy in the west. Georgia is among the so called "hybrid" type countries which are characterized as containing weak democratic institutions, problems in human rights protection, restricted media freedom, unjust court systems, unfair elections, and so on. A Hybrid regime's governance is also considered to be authoritarian. So, there is not much to be proud of. Therefore, if Georgia and its leadership genuinely want to be counted as a democratic country it should prove this not by promises and words but through the real steps in the right direction.

It is a known tradition that on the eve of any new election, amendments are made to the elections code which suits the ruling administration, a tactic used to secure a victory. Therefore the opposition remains unprepared for any new rules of game and generally loses. This time the opposition took the initiative, it is making moves well in advance and hopes the authorities will agree to amend the elections code in such manner that would provide the greatest amount of transparency and eliminate any possibility, (or at least reduce the possibility) that manipulations will occur. Most importantly this should not be a short notice action, which would allow rival sides time to adopt the new rules of the game.

As we have mentioned, there are different types of opposition in Georgia. Some of them are critical towards the 8 parties who sit at the negotiating table with the ruling power. They claim that the authorities would not allow free and fair elections and that the dialogue between the opposition and ruling authorities are just in vain. In their opinion it is simulation and yet another attempt to deceive the society and either way, the ruling administration will cheat and do whatever it wants to do. Leaders of the 8 political parties are more optimistic. They understand that the dialogue will be long and difficult. So far the opposition parties are collaborating ideas for the amendments which will be made according to their opinions. Only after this will they start discussing of every single item regarding the amendments. So far the officials have not produced any draft amendments of their own, since they are waiting for the opposition to address their specific stance. So, the key moves have yet to come

It can be predicted that the ruling authority will make certain concessions because of the deep involvement of a variety of international organizations. In fact, it should be mentioned that the biggest lever for the opposition is western pressure. The opposition asks that elections be conducted as precise as possible. The issue of financing the parties should also be discussed. They have also asked for biometric voting procedures and have discussed other issues related to this topic. There is enough time and resources to do this. The most important tool however, is the goodwill to cooperate from the official side.