TBILISI, DFWatch – The Central Election Commission (CEC) has given Georgians abroad two more days to register as a voter.
The deadline for registering is September 11.
But Eka Azarashvili, speaker for CEC said, said at a press conference Monday that Georgians living abroad will get two more days to register. The new deadline for them is September 13.
To register they must go to an election district in the country they live in and present an ID card.
The deputy foreign minister said Georgia will make all the necessary arrangements in countries which have a Georgian embassy so that emigrants can vote there.
Because of the lack of diplomatic relations with Russia, it will not be possible for Georgians who live there to vote.
Last week, non-governmental organizations asked CEC to change the election date for emigrants to at least September 31 as it is hard for Georgian citizens to register in short terms.
The problem is that this year CEC changed the rules for registration for citizens living abroad and they will have to present documentation for place of residency together with an ID during registration. Even though there is no official figure for how many Georgians have emigrated, unofficially there are up to a million Georgians living abroad and a large number of them are living illegally in other countries. It is therefore impossible for them to present documentation and register as a voter.
Later, the CEC made another explanation to the procedure saying that in case the names of Georgian citizens are normally observed in embassies, they will have to present residency documentation and ID, but if people live somewhere illegally then they can go through a so-called preliminary registration and only present an ID, which will allow them to participate in the election.
The groups think this explanation came very late and these people have very little time left to register. They therefore demanded to change the election date for emigrants. CEC refused, but postponed the deadline for registering with two days.