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Central Election Commission: Numbers up on votersí list

By Ernest Petrosyan
Wednesday, August 8
The Central Election Commission (CEC) published the highest ever figure for the voters list on August 6. The voters list, according to the CEC, in total numbers 3,621,256 voters. This is the highest ever recorded since 1990.

Prior to this, the highest number was recorded just after the collapse of the USSR in May of 1991, when during the Presidential elections, the list was 3,594,810 voters, and the second largest figure was registered in the May 2010 local elections Ė 3,544,770. In the national elections held in the mid and late 1990s, the number of voters, as reported by the CEC, ranged from 3.1 million to 3.14 million.

This unprecedentedly high-published figure includes a number of votes in each of the 73 election districts, which also represent single mandate constituencies where majoritarian MP candidates will also be elected.

The largest constituency is the second-largest city Kutaisi with total of 163,654 voters, followed by Tbilisi.

As for the smallest constituencies, this includes the Mtskheta-Mtianetiís regionís Kazbegi district with 5,779 voters and Racha-Lechkhumi regionís Lentekhi district with 5,955 voters.

According to the CEC, the voters list includes a total of 77,232 ďderegisteredĒ voters, those who previously were incorrectly registered to particular addresses and who were then deregistered from those addresses.

A considerable number of Georgian citizens (about 10% of the total figure) are currently abroad. According to the CEC, 310,113 Georgian voters are living overseas. However not all of them will be eligible to vote, due to the recent amendment of the Georgian Foreign Ministry, according to which a voter who does not provide a residence permit document will not be eligible to vote in the October 1 elections. In other words, a large number of Georgians illegally residing citizens will not participate in the elections.

Georgian emigrants in Athens, however, expressed their protest against the Georgian Foreign Ministerís aforementioned order, according to which illegally residing Georgian citizens in Athens cannot pass consular registration.

The nonprofit organization Emigrants for Democratic Georgia reports that Georgian emigrants living in Athens held a protest rally in front of the embassy. The rally was organized by the Emigrants for Democratic Georgia, which was attended by about 50 legally- residing emigrants to avoid any possible provocation.

Gathered in front of Georgian Embassy, emigrants claimed that the amendment is applied against Georgian emigrants worldwide aiming to seize their votes in the forthcoming parliamentary elections.

Protestors noted that this initiative has become even clearer after the presidentís order on the appointment of the Election Day was published.

One of the participants expressed a desire to help illegal residents and give them the opportunity to maintain their citizenship. He expressed his wish to register his address and his signature to give it a place of residence to illegal immigrants, and thus it will allow its citizens to maintain Georgian citizenship.

According to the organization, it has begun to create a base of people who can help illegally residing citizens to obtain a certificate from their place of residence.