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Pro-Russian parties removed from registration

By Tea Mariamidze
Wednesday, August 17
The Centrists political party was removed from the election registration yesterday. The decision was made by the Central Election Commission (CEC) of Georgia after the Public Registry released the information that the Centrists leaders do not have any legal authority.

“The Centrists leadership is not legal, so I signed a decree on the annulment of their registration," said Tamar Zhvania, Chair of the CEC, at a special briefing on August 16.

On Monday, the Public Registry released information saying that the Centrists party does not have a legal leader.

“Currently, according to the Political Associations Registry of the Public Registry, the Centrists have no leadership, only an authorized representative,” the statement of the Public Registry reads.

Tamar Zhvania stated she had some doubts about the pre-election advertisement of the Centrists, which caused an outcry from society and political parties.

The Centrists applied to the Georgian Public Broadcaster (GPB) for free political advertising airtime and submitted its advertising video, which enlists the following pre-election promises: “A Russian pension of 400 GEL, adoption of a dual citizenship law and the legalization of the Russian military bases on Georgian territory".

The clip shows images of Russian tanks and soldiers, as well as a photo of President Vladimer Putin. The GPB suspended the clip saying it has “anti-state and anti-sovereignty” content.

The International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED) addressed the Central Election Commission to ban the advertisement and impose an administrative fine on the Centrists. The ISFED also filed a lawsuit with Tbilisi Civil Court requesting the removal of the Centrists from the registration. However, the Court rejected the claim.

Furthermore, the Chair of the ruling Georgian Dream (GD) fraction, Gia Volski, voiced an initiative to address the Constitutional Court to anull the registration of the Centrists.

The same idea was presented by the Republican party and the United National Movement (UNM), who requested that the CEC remove the Centrists from the elections for their ”anti-sovereignty and anti-Constitutional messages”.

However, no ruling will be taken to the Constitutional Court after the CEC removed the Centrists from the parliamentary elections.

The Centrists political union was set up by Vladimir Bedukadze and Nikoloz Khachishvili. They say the whole country is fighting against them, which is a 'demonstration of a dictatorship'.

“We are not going to stop fighting… this decision is the beginning of a dictatorship in the country,” said Bedukadze and called on the other politicians to leave the ruling team, in order not to get involved in “dirty political processes”.

Lado Bedukadze is a former guard from the Gldani prison in Tbilisi. Before the 2012 parliamentary elections he released several videos depicting prisoners’ torture and inhumane treatment at the prisons during the previous government. Despite the fact that the most videos were filmed by Bedukadze, the case against him was dismissed by the mediation of former Prosecutor General, Archil Kbilashvili, who said Bedukadze was cooperating with the investigation.