Central Election Commission (CEC) arithmetic: 7 = 41.
By Messenger Staff
Thursday, August 23Every registered political entity participating in the elections has its ballot number. For instance the number five is monopolized by the ruling United National movement (UNM) and it participates in all elections with the number five. Since the party has been registered for all elections it has the right to keep its number.
According to the same logic the Conservative Party has the number seven for the upcoming elections. When it became part of the Georgian Dream coalition the entire coalition chose the number seven as its ballot number. With the same logic Christian-Democratic Movement took the number 10.
On August 20th the Central Election Commission adopted a decision to deprive the Georgian Dream of the number seven and grant it the last available ballot number 41.
This was a seriously distressing surprise for the coalition. When at the end of last month the Election Day was announced for October 1st Georgian Dream has been using the number seven on its campaign, brochures, flyers, T-shirts, caps and so on.
The coalition has received a considerable psychological and financial blow. The leaders of the coalition complained that on May 27th during a rally in Tbilisi the coalition openly and loudly declared that it would use the number seven as its ballot number. The elections code states that if a political coalition is formed that will run in the upcoming elections and one of its member parties participated in the last parliamentary elections, the coalitions' charter should clearly state which member party's ballot number they will use.
On August 20th the CEC made a statement clarifying that all member parties of a political coalition should have been registered during the last parliamentary elections in 2008 for the ballot number of one member party to represent the entire coalition in this year's elections. Of the six parties which comprise Georgian Dream four participated in the 2008 parliamentary elections.
A precedent appeared during the local elections last year when the political coalition Alliance for Georgia was formed and not all its member parties had participated in the last elections. However the CEC chose to ignore this precedent and took the decision not to allow Georgian Dream the use of the number seven. As ballot numbers 1-40 were already taken by other political parties Georgian Dream was given the number 41.
Certain international observatory organizations have commented that the unclear formulation of the election code gave the CEC the option to either grant Georgian Dream the use of one of its member party ballot numbers or to draw lots to decide the issue.
Georgian Dream leaders accuse the CEC of being politically motivated in their decision-a very obvious attempt to create obstacles for the coalition's campaign. They consider this decision to be arrogant and illegal. They complain that the CEC should have told Georgian Dream about the impossibility of using the number seven; as a result of not receiving proper information in due time Georgian Dream has received serious financial problems. Georgian Dream now has the additional expense of having to print new advertising material with the number 41 on it while the bank accounts of certain Georgian Dream members are frozen by the government.
Currently the Georgian Dream is contesting the court's decision though analysts are skeptical that the coalition will regain the use of the number seven.