The President’s order on the election date that was sent to the Prime Minister for approval (countersignature) gave rise to a misunderstanding.
In an effort to inform the public of the election date 6 months prior, the President signed a legal act and sent it to the Prime Minister for countersignature. Under the Election Code, after the countersignature the legal act is made public and the election campaign officially launches.
We welcome the President’s willingness to inform the election stakeholders of the election date 6 months prior. However, a 6 month long election campaign could have some negative consequences. The election campaign is a special legal regime that brings increased budgetary expenditures, changes in public service activity, stricter media regulations, and etc.
The election administration also enters a special regime during the election campaign. During this period, all district election commissions (DEC) must be fully staffed (the members of 73 DECs must be increased from 5 to 13). Members of the central and district elections commissions, as well as CEC administration employees and other persons, receive double salaries during the election period, which significantly increases budget expenditure.
Local governments, media and political parties also require special training to start the elections campaign.
Given the fact that the President's order implies his desire to officially launch the election campaign 2 months before the elections, we believe that the legal solution would be for the government not to provide the countersignature and for the President to re-issue his order in July.
Transparency International Georgia
International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED)