The opposition Georgian Dream Coalition in Georgia has warned that the Central Elections Commission may stop it using the No7 slot on the ballot papers during the forthcoming elections. In a statement to Embassies and International organisations on 11 August  the Coalition said that it had information that the CEC would give a restrictive interpretation to the elections legislation to prevent it taking the slot.

Under the current provisions parties that successfully contested the previous parliamentary elections can hold the same number on the ballot paper that they had in the previous election.  In its session on 7 August the CEC informed that three parties that had been successful in the 2008 Parliamentary Elections had informed the CEC of their decision to participate in the Parliamentary Elections 2012 with the same assigned numbers as during the above mentioned elections in 2008. They were the United National Movement – №5; Conservative Party of Georgia – №7; and Christian-Democratic Movement – №10.

Coalitions or Blocs can choose from the numbers of one of their constituent parts who had successfully participated in previous elections. In the case of the Georgian Dream coalition which is made up of six parties already registered for the October election, they chose Number 7, which was the number held by one of the Coalition parties, the Conservatives.

It seems however that the CEC is saying that for this to happen all the members of the coalition must have contested the previous parliamentary elections, which is not the case with the Georgian Dream.

However, in its statement Georgian Dream says that this is a different interpretation of the regulations than was the case in previous elections. It cited examples from the 2010 Local Elections when at least two political blocs, “National Council” and “Giorgi Targamadze, Inga Grigolia, Christian Democratic Union” were allowed to use the number of one of the constituent parts despite the fact that they included others parties or groups who had not contested the previous elections.

The Georgian Dream Coalition said that such a decision of the CEC will constitute a political decision against it.

This number game is important, particularly in areas of high illiteracy where voters are helped to ensure that they vote for the party of their choice by remembering the number of the party.

Source: CEW editorial staff