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Election legitimacy contingent on full participation of all candidates

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, October 23
On October 21, Nino Lomjaria from the Institute for Fair Elections and Democracy released a statement explaining that if there is a candidate that makes it through to the second round and then quits the election, it will result in a very atypical situation in the country.

“From a legal point of view, this will be a deadlock,” Lomjaria explained.

According to election code norms, the two candidates that have received the most votes relative to the other candidates, go on to participate in the second round.

“If both revoke their candidacies, new elections will be held,” Lomjaria said.

Commenting on the statement made by the Central Election Commission (CEC) regarding a re-run being held even in case of there being a single candidate, she said:

“This decision is quite strange and means that a single voter could decide the final outcome of the second round. That is not enough for the legitimacy of the candidate,” Lomjaria stressed.

Lomjaria believes that if presidential candidate of the Georgian Dream coalition, Giorgi Margvelashvili, does not take part in the second round, it will be a serious blow to the election environment, the political process and the legitimacy of the future president of Georgia.

“I appeal to Margvelashvili not to take this step, as this will affect us all,” Lomjaria pleaded.

According to her, the prevalence of public employees using administrative resources have significantly decreased this year. However, there are still some problems in this regard.

“There are some cases of the usage of administrative resources on behalf of the candidates of the majority and the minority,” Lomjaria said, explaining that ISEFD will monitor the elections by deploying 1,000 observers throughout Georgia.

Political analyst Vakhtang Dzabiradze believes that Prime Minister and his candidate's statements are targeted to “wake up” the voters, explaining that a certain percentage of voters might think that Margvelashvili's victory is a foregone conclusion and as such, will not be motivated to participate in the election.

“Voters can be quite passive during the election, and this is more damaging to the Georgian Dream candidate than it is to the other candidates,” Dzabiradze says.

Dzabiradze states that the election has a particularly “vital” importance for the United National Movement (UNM), as the presidential race will go a long way in deciding the long-term fate of the UNM.

“The UNM is very motivated and their voters will actively take part in the election. Additionally, Burjanadze states that she will restore justice. So, those who are angry with the coalition because they failed to establish a fair system in the country, will also attend the election as well,” Dzabiradze emphasized.

According to Dzabiradze, “If Marghvelashvili revokes his candidacy after the first round, all good things that have been accomplished by the coalition will be destroyed.”