Public Defender of Georgia Nino Lomjaria announced that given the current epidemiological situation, while the country has 60-70 deaths from coronavirus every day, stricter regulations should be introduced. At the same time, Lomjaria believes that the representatives of political forces should discuss whether elections can be held in such a situation.
Public Defender and opposition start considering the postponement of October elections
By Natalia Kochiashvili
Wednesday, August 25
"Why no one is discussing whether elections can be held even in such a situation, what can be more alarming or more tragic than what is happening today. That is, in which case the same state of emergency can be declared, or we can consider postponing the elections," Ombudsman said.
Giorgi Vashadze, the leader of Strategy Builder, believes that a discussion should be started regarding the postponement of the elections and is ready to take part in this discussion as well. According to him, the country is in the worst epidemiological situation and 7000 people have already died of the virus, which is killing more and more people, so, in his opinion, the common, national task today should be to fight Covid and save human lives. “Postponing the elections for 2-3 weeks will not change the situation and we have a much bigger task to solve today.” He believes that the regulations should be tightened as well.
Vashadze also recalled last year's elections, when the number of infected people also increased dramatically in November-December.
Badri Japaridze of Lelo has also expressed the readiness of his party to get involved in the discussions regarding the postponement of the elections.
According to another opposition MP, Tamar Kordzaia, the President of Georgia has the authority to postpone the elections, who has set the date of the elections and if she were the President, she would decide to postpone the elections.
“The rhetoric of the government, which says that the postponement of the elections is a weakness of the opposition, shows that they do not care about people's lives,” the leader of the National Movement, Khatia Dekanoidze, told reporters. According to her, the party is ready for all options, because their first and foremost interest is the health and safety of the people.
The ruling party says it is not considering a possible postponement of the election at this stage.
"Last year's experience proves that it is possible to conduct the election process simultaneously, taking into account epidemiological prudence. I do not think that this alone is the reason for such statements and such an idea. It may be a lifeline for the opposition in the light of the fact that they are practically doomed to defeat," said Mikheil Sarjveladze, a member of the Georgian Dream.
Gia Volski, a member of the ruling team, believes that the elections, both on election day and in the coming days, will be conducted in a way that minimizes the threat from an epidemiological point of view. According to him, since there is no prospect of freeing the world from the threat of viruses in the next few months, it is not right to stop the political process because of this.
“I think that the Public Defender, as well as several independent political activists, have become external speakers of the interests of the National Movement,” Volski said.
According to him, the Public Defender and all others should have in-depth consultations with specialists in the field and not with political parties who have their interests.
“The only legal mechanism for postponing the self-government elections is the declaration of a state of emergency, and when the Public Defender speaks about the declaration of a state of emergency, it is an anomaly in itself,” said the leader of the parliamentary majority, the chairman of the Georgian Dream party, Irakli Kobakhidze.
According to Kobakhidze, the society sees that the joint campaign of the "National Movement" has been launched today to postpone the self-government elections, which is a preliminary recognition of the election defeat and the society will give an appropriate response.
According to the Chairman of the Central Election Commission, Giorgi Kalandarishvili, the election administration carries out all activities in close communication and coordination with the Ministry of Health.
The election administration started thinking about this challenge as soon as the elections were called. All activities are carried out in close communication and coordination with the Ministry of Health, including intensive testing of the members of the Central as well as the District and Precinct Election Commissions.
He also underscored that CEC has a high rate of involvement in the vaccination process which gives them high expectations that all 63 000 PEC members and administrators will show high civil and social responsibility. According to Kalandarishvili, the CEC follows all the recommendations and protocols that exist in the country today due to the epidemic.
As for the issue of postponing the elections, according to Giorgi Kalandarishvili, it is not the competence of the election administration. “At this stage, intensive preparations are underway for the elections from the administrative, logistical, and pandemic point of view,” the CEC chairman added.