European MPs-What Should Georgia Consider for Elections?
By Vladimer Napetvaridze
Friday, September 7
In October 2018, the last Presidential elections will be held in Georgia. A few days ago, European Parliament Member Rebecca Harms called on Georgia to ensure transparency of funding of political parties and media pluralism for the presidential elections: "As a member of the European Parliament and the Chairman of the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly, I call on Georgia and ask them to ensure transparency of funding of parties. I hope that media pluralism will be ensured, which is also crucial for democratic elections. The European Parliament will send observers for the election, and they will monitor the process,"- stated MEP in her interview with Rustavi 2 TV.
One more MEP- Ana Gomes, also expressed her opinion about the presidential elections, stated that the upcoming elections must be competitive, and the candidates should enjoy equal resources and opportunities: "I hope that the presidential elections in Georgia will be competitive and the candidates will enjoy equal resources and opportunities, including in the media. All this is very important. I hope that the last direct election of a president will attract the attention of the Georgian people,” Ana Gomes stated in her interview with Rustavi 2.
It can be predicted that at the October presidential election, the voter turnout will be very low, which is due to the rise of indifference in the population. There are several reasons for this: For the last several years the importance of the president institute has decreased. In 2004 - After the Rose Revolution in 2003, the Parliament of Georgia adopted a new edition of the constitution, which equipped the President with more power, and President dominated all other branches of power and institutions. It was a super-presidential model; In 2010 - According to the new edition of the constitution, an institute of Prime-minister became the most powerful political position. A president has been deprived of all the executive rights; In 2013. The new government of Georgia restricted the rights of the Prime Minister. This model is closer to the parliamentary model; according to the latest edition of the constitution adopted in 2017 which determined the country's parliamentary model; 2018 will be the last year when the Georgian population elects the president. According to the new edition of the constitution, from 2023 candidate for this position will be nominated by the government.
In addition to that, we can see the growth of skeptical attitudes of the population towards the elections. For example, if in the presidential election in 2004 participated over 2 million voters, in the next elections in 2008, this number has reduced by 140,000. After the five years, in 2013, only 46% of the registered voters participated in the presidential election, which is equal to 1630 875 citizens. The tendency of voter participation decrease is observed regarding the parliamentary elections too. In 2012 - Voter turnout was: 2,185,913 = 60% registered voted; but in 2016- Voter turnout decreased to 1,753,522 = 50% registered voters.
In addition to all the above mentioned, the ruling party has not yet clearly nominated its position in future presidential elections. At this stage, we can name three main candidates for upcoming elections: - Grigol Vashadze, a member of the United National Movement, which is a candidate of a coalition - "Strength in Unity", Davit Bakradze - a candidate for European Georgia and an independent candidate Salome Zourabichvili, who might get support of the Georgian Dream.