The President and the Prime Minister of Georgia announced different dates for beginning of electoral campaign for the upcoming parliamentary elections.
The date for publishing presidential decree for calling of elections was postponed a few times. Initially the President announced that elections were scheduled for October 8 and that corresponding decision would be sent to the Prime Minister. Therefore, it was expected that the pre-election campaign would formally start in April; however, later it turned out that the presidential decree indicated August 8 as the date for launching the campaign.
Instead of countersigning the presidential decree, the Prime Minister returned it and offered the president to issue a new one on July 8. In response, the President announced that the elections would be called in early May.
Date for formal launch of pre-election campaign is defined by electoral legislation of Georgia and is connected with calling of elections. Therefore, disagreement between the President and the Prime Minister over the issue causes confusion among political parties, electoral management body, monitoring organizations, media and voters.
We welcome the will of the authorities to launch the campaign earlier than the deadline prescribed by law; however, the decision should be made through consultations between the EMB, the government, political parties and monitoring organizations. Elections should be called in consideration of technical readiness of the electoral management body, political parties, local self-governments and other relevant stakeholders, for them to be able to fulfill their responsibilities freely and without any impediments, as well as the effect that a lengthy political campaign may have in light of the tense rhetoric and high political temperature.
Therefore, we urge the President and the Prime Minister of Georgia to consult with key stakeholders in order to decide when to call the elections.