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NGOs call on Prime Minister not to sign President’s decree on parliamentary elections

By Tea Mariamidze
Friday, April 8
Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) addressed the Prime Minister of Georgia, Giorgi Kvirikashvili, and asked him not to sign the President’s decree over the date of the 2016 parliamentary elections. The NGOs believe that the President’s decision to appoint the elections on October 8, which will take effect on August 8, is an artificial postponement of the election date, which will have a negative impact on the pre-election environment.

The Georgian Young Lawyers Association (GYLA) has released a statement in which they say that the fact that the President’s decree will go into force on August 8 instead of taking effect immediately after the Prime Minister signs it contradicts the Election Code of Georgia.

“We believe that the government should use its authority and return the decree back to the president, with amended notes,” the statement of the GYLA reads.

The International Society for Fair Elections (ISFED) also commented on the issue. They believe the decision was carried out spontaneously and caused legal confusion. They asked the Central Election Commission and the Presidential Administration to give explanations.

The issue caused different opinions among the Majority and the opposition parties.

The opposition believes that this fact increases the threat that the government will use administrative resources for the elections.

According to the United National Movement (UNM) opposition, it is ridiculous that President’s decree will take effect on August 8 and not immediately, after the PM signs it. They blame the President for breaking the law and say he is trying to assist the ruling Georgian Dream (GD) party in winning the elections.

“The fact that October 8 will come but we will find out about it only on August 8 is nonsense. Georgian Dream will lose these elections,” said a member of the UNM, Davit Bakradze.

The majority says that the President made the right decision within legal frames. The Deputy Chair of the GD fraction, Eliso Chapidze, says she respects the notes of the NGOs but advises them to look through the legislation once again. She thinks the Prime Minister will sign the decree.

“In this case, the President’s decision was right to let the parties to know the date of elections in advance, which will let them create a healthy electoral environment,” stated Chapidze.

According to the Presidential Administration, the date was announced so early in order for the political environment to be more predictable and for political parties to be able to plan their election campaigns better.

As reported by the Administration, Georgia’s President and PM agreed on this date at their meeting held on April 6.

Two decrees issued by the Georgian President were sent to the government. The decrees refer to the date of the 2016 parliamentary elections and the Adjara High Council elections. Both elections will be held on October 8, 2016.

The two presidential decrees will take effect on August 8.