TBILISI, DFWatch–In Georgia, a discussion has begun about the date of the presidential election. Yesterday, President Mikheil Saakashvili set the date to October 31, which will be a Thursday. But groups claim a presidential election must be held in a weekend.
The Election Code says that an election can be held any day of the week, except for a presidential election.
“The next election, referendum, plebiscite can be conducted on any day of the week except presidential election. Voting day is on a day of rest,” the Election Code reads.
The Constitution of Georgia only defines that a presidential election must be held in October, but it is the prerogative of the president to set a date at least 60 days before Election Day. President Saakashvili chose the last day of October as Election Day.
Education Minister Giorgi Margvelashvili, the Georgian Dream coalition’s candidate, said that lawyers have started reviewing the issue to find out whether the president set the date correctly or not.
Meanwhile, Salome Zourabichvili, who is also a candidate in the election, wrote on her Facebook page that appointing Election Day on a Thursday is ‘a mockery’ of Georgian citizens living abroad.
“This means that the National Movement and the president don’t care about Georgians living abroad, do not trust and do not hope for their votes,” she writes, adding that there still remain ‘Mishists’ (supporters of Mikheil Saakashvili) abroad and they should think about how to use their votes.
The election campaign started on Monday when the president finally set the date for the election. Many of the candidates are already known, but initiative groups and parties will have until the beginning of September to name candidates.
The UNM, Saakshvili’s party, is currently conducting primary elections to select its candidate.