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Demand for removal of pro-Russian party from election registration

By Tea Mariamidze
Tuesday, August 23
The opposition party, the United National Movement (UNM), addressed the Central Election Commission (CEC) of Georgia to remove the Neutral Georgia-Kvaratskhelia-Socialists party from the electoral registration, saying they have the same problem as another suspended party, the Centrists, whose leaders have no legal authority.

UNM member Irma Nadirashvili also addressed the Justice Ministry and asked it to explain how Neutral Georgia managed to register for the October parliamentary elections if they had faulty documentation.

“These two shortcomings, revealed just in one week, demonstrate that CEC Head Tamar Zhvania is not able to fulfil her obligations,” stated Nadirashvili, and requested the immediate removal of Neutral Georgia from the electoral register.

The Central Election Commission responded to the UNM's statement, saying that the CEC gave Neutral Georgia and another eight parties with similar problems three weeks to fix the shortcomings.

Head of the CEC Tamar Zhvania stated on Monday that the registration of 9 parties, which do not have authorized leaders in public Registry, should be maintained.

“The process is ongoing in Tbilisi City Court in connection with this decision, and we will wait for the Court's ruling,” Zhvania said.

Neutral Georgia is considered to be a pro-Russian party, whose leader Valeri Kvaratskhelia stated that the United States is trying to use Georgia against Russia. He recommends that Georgia reconsider its foreign policy priorities and suggests that Georgia’s future is in 'neutrality'. According to him Georgia should not become a NATO member, because it will bring many more problems for the country. Kvaratskhelia also stated that Russia’s President Vladimer Putin is the top leader in the world and he, Valeri Kvaratskhelia, intends to develop closer ties with Russia.

“This party openly supports Georgia’s occupation and it acts against Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. It should be removed from the registration,” another member of the UNM, Giorgi Kandelaki, insisted.

According to the Chair of the Procedural Issues Commission Giorgi Kakhiani, identification of the legal leaders of the parties became obligatory from June 20 and the parties which registered before have such problems.

Georgia's Non-Governmental Organisations do not approve of the decision of CEC to give time to the parties which have faulty documentation until September 8.

“It is confusing why Neutral Georgia was given time, while the Centrists, who had the same problem, were removed from the registration,” a lawyer of NGO Georgia’s Democratic Initiative, Gvantsa Tsulukidze, said.

In total, 64 political parties applied to the CEC for registration. Among them, 44 were registered and 18 were refused. Two parties are still pending registration.