The messenger logo

Elections far away but still approaching

By Messenger Staff
Thursday, January 27
As it is widely known, eight opposition parties have been trying establishing a more democratic and favourable election environment in the country. The opposition considers that it is possible to cooperate with the ruling power in order to improve and establish a fair election environment. Of course, for this purpose, western support should be the guarantor of such an environment. Until now, at the joint sessions between eight opposition parties and the ruling party, the opposition representatives have been declaring their positions. Now it is the ruling party’s turn to give its stance and, only after that, will the people see what the situation is in reality. Officially, the next elections in Georgia will be the 2012 parliamentary elections. At first glance there is enough time for the introduction of amendments and the ruling authorities have adopted their customary tactics, prolonging the time for dialogue.

The work of these meetings is envisaged to be divided into three stages. The first stage will be fixing the position of both sides which has almost reached its conclusion. The second stage will be the discussion and consideration of the respective positions. The third stage will be taking decisions on mutual concessions and finalizing the election process.

The opposition involved in this discussion thinks that the ruling power will listen to the opposition's opinion and then give their position. Eventually it will become clear where the concessions will be made and in which direction and to what extent.

Representatives of opposition parties think that under the current circumstances when the west is involved so deeply and genuinely in the process and the population is expecting a serious breakthrough, this kind of cooperation should yield positive results.

The opposition has broad claims. It wants to introduce amendments throughout the election system. This includes lists of registered voters, using biometric documentation for identifying the voters, limiting administrative resources intensively used by the ruling power, settling the matter of financing of the parties, fair and just composition of elections administration – CEC and so on. It is not yet known if the ruling power is ready to accept some or all of these amendments.

The current election code suits the ruling power, so it is not very willing to introduce any changes. However, under serious western pressure and verbal commitments of the Georgian leadership to comply with the demands of the democratic world forced them to agree to carry out dialogue with the opposition. There is another interesting factor here. This is the aspect of democratic elections when the losing side publicly acknowledges its loss and congratulates the victorious side. The ruling power thinks that its position is strengthened by the difference of opinion between the opposition parties. So it will be using its usual strategy of dividing and ruling. The opposition is also trying to limit the advantage of the ruling party through fair distribution of their finances. The opposition demands complete transparency of state funding for all parties and fixing the maximum amount of allotted money for each party. It is unlikely that the ruling party will be very happy to abide by these demands. There are several details which will be a challenge for the current Georgian administration which consistently proclaims its democratic orientation and desire for integration into EU and NATO.