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PM: 'Elections held on October 8'

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Monday, April 11
Georgia’s Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili has stated that the parliamentary elections in Georgia will be held on October eighth, and that it is a political decision.

The PM stressed he had held consultations over the date with the President, and they agreed appointing the race for the end of October might cause certain complications.

Explaining the reasons, Kvirikashvili said the second round of elections could be necessary especially in terms of the majoritarian contest that could be hindered due to bad weather in the mountainous regions in late autumn.

“If we stretched the election date to the end of October and if there was a need of the second round, preparing for the second round at least requires one month and this could cause problems for the mountainous regions,” the PM said.

The PM stressed that learning the exact date of the elections could be only beneficial, as this enabled political players to plan a range of campaign activities.

With regards to the issue as to when all the political factions would be permitted to start their pre-election campaigns, the PM said consultations over the topic were in action with the involvement of the Central Election Commission (CEC).

However, Kvirikashvili said he did not approve of long pre-election campaigns, as it would cause millions of GEL expenses from the state budget for necessary pre-election expenditures.

After the meeting with the PM late on April fifth, President Giorgi Margvelashvili announced that the parliamentary elections would be held on October eighth; however, he said the decision would come into effect and political players would be able to launch their pre-election campaign only from August eighth.

Since the dates were announced, the relevant document was sent for the PM to sign, as without the signature the decision will not be constitutionally valid.

The PM has not yet signed the document as he still has a week term to think about the issue.

When explaining the decision, the President provided the same reason as the PM. He said an early appointing of the election date enabled political parties to effectively plan their election campaign, while starting the pre-election campaigns themselves from August eighth saved budgetary funds.

The decision caused a stir in some opposition parties, who said August was a passive time for pre-election campaigning due to holidays and they would have only a month for informing voters about their intentions, programs and goals.

Local NGOs said the early starting of pre-election campaigns could be a burden for the state budget, as during the pre-election period the staff of the Central Election Commission take double salaries and there were various necessary expenses from the budget, but they also said July and not August would be better times for starting the pre-election campaign.