The messenger logo

Major event – local self-government elections

By Messenger Staff
Tuesday, January 14
It looks like the major event for Georgia in 2014 will be the local self-governance elections. Presumably, it will be held in June. It is not yet clear what kind of legislation will regulate the rules of the elections.

There is no doubt that these elections are of vital importance for all the participating sides. The former United National Movement (UNM) government still maintains levers in the Georgian self-governmental system. They make a solid bid on achieving success in the self-government elections. On the one hand, the UNM wants to preserve its influence on the local level, while on the other hand, it needs to confirm its position as a major oppositional force in the country.

The Georgian Dream administration has not yet decided itself whether it will participate as a coalition or as separate entities. The latter however, creates a risk because many coalition member parties may fail to qualify, whereas if they participate as a team they will have more strength. However, this decision requires multiple compromises inside the coalition itself.

The most important issue will be the election of the Tbilisi Mayor, as this position is crucial for the entire country. Before leaving the post of Prime Minister, Bidzina Ivanishvili recommended the current Minister of Regional Development and Infrastructure David Narmania as a possible candidate of the coalition for this position. This candidacy, however, created many controversies inside and outside the coalition.

After Ivanishvili’s resignation the ratings of different candidates could considerably change by summer.

The self-government elections will also be a solid test for the parties outside the parliament. These elections will be a challenge for them. Some smaller parties recommend the creation of blocks. As a possible option it is suggested to unite around Nino Burjanadze’s Democratic Movement – United Georgia. However, she has certain disadvantages, as she is mostly understood as a Russian-oriented politician, therefore she will be unacceptable for the Western-oriented political parties in Georgia.

Serious criticism is directed towards the law on local self-governance, which is being discussed in the parliament. Some politicians see a threat of separatist sentiments in this law.

Some representatives of non-parliamentary opposition criticize the current Georgian government for abandoning their position concerning the elections. In particular, there is a categorical demand to create a biometric system of elections, which will practically exclude the opportunity for falsification and fraud. This should be done by the current administration.

So, the current Georgian government faces serious challenges and there are some voices among the population expressing discontent for the current situation in the country.