2016 Parliamentary Elections

ISFED reacts on announcement of election date

ISFED reacts on announcement of the parliamentary election date by the President of Georgia. 

We believe that the process was spontaneous and inconsistent, giving rise to legal ambiguities. The date for formal launch of election campaign should be clear and unambiguous, especially considering that a number of legal regulations come into effect immediately after the date is set. 

The Election Code clearly stipulates that official election campaign and pertinent rules about use of public resources and staffing of electoral management body become effective as soon as the legal act calling elections is promulgated. Therefore, the reason why August 8 (and not day the election date was announced) has been set as the date for formal launch of the election campaign is ambiguous. 

By virtue of Article 108 of the Election Code of Georgia, regular elections for parliament of Georgia must be held in October of the calendar year. The president of Georgia announces an election date, by the Prime Minister’s countersignature, no later than 60 days prior to the election. The legal act that announces the election date should be signed to the Prime Minister for countersignature no later than within two days after it was signed by the President. The PM then has ten days to present the legal act to the cabinet for discussion. Upon the cabinet’s approval, the act is signed by the Prime Minister and the process of countersignature is deemed fulfilled. 

The information on the calling of parliamentary elections of Georgia is published on the official CEC website and through the media no later than the day following the day of countersignature. 

By virtue of para.1, Article 45 of the Election Code, election campaign begins as soon as a legal act calling elections is issued and published. This way, election campaign officially begins the day the decision is published, not the day it comes into force. 

Consequently, elections are called after the PM countersigns the legal act and election campaign (canvassing) is launched as soon as the act is published. 

In order to avoid any legal ambiguities during pre-election period, we urge relevant agencies, the President of Georgia, the government, the parliament and the CEC to make official clarifications as to which legal norm allows launching of election campaign on August 8 and not the day the legal act calling elections was published (as prescribed by the Election Code of Georgia).