The deadline has closed for the submission of the list of candidates – the so-called Party list – for the election of 77 out of the 150 seats in the Parliamentary Elections in Georgia next month. Each party will win seats according to the number of votes it gets, as long as it passes the 5% thresh-hold. Seats are assigned according to the ranking on the list.
In theory parties should put forward their best people first, in practise the lists reflect delicate power balances.
An interesting feature in the lists of the two main political forces facing each other in the 1 October election is that their most important people are not on the list at all. In the list of the governing United National Movement amongst those missing are the President Mikeil Saakashvili, the Prime Minister Vano Merabishvili, the Mayor of Tbilisi, Gigi Ugulava, the Head of the National Security Council, Giga Bokeria and the Prosecutor General, Zurab Adeishvili. Many think that it is this quintet, with possibly one or two others on the side, that are the real decision makers in Georgia. The fact that their names are not on the list however does not mean that their influence is not reflected. Political observers see the UNM list as a compromise between the interests of the members of the Quintet and other elements within the ruling party. The list of the UNM is headed by David Bakradze, the Speaker of the Georgian Parliament.
On the opposition side the situation is not very different. The main person of the opposition, Bidhzina Ivanishvili had said all along that unless his citizenship was restored he will not be himself a candidate. The list of his Georgian Dream bloc reflects the nature of the coalition. Heading the list is former footballer Kakha Kaladze, immediately followed by the leaders of the six parties in the coalition. The rest of the list reflects the delicate balance that is the hall mark of any coalition.
Both lists have on the whole good quality candidates, a few but enough women, and especially the UNM list, some young people, recently empowered by an amendment in the electoral law. Under the Georgian system people sitting in Parliament cannot hold office in the Executive. So many of those elected on the list of whoever wins the election will likely have to resign in order to take up Ministerial posts and fill in other jobs in the administration. Apart from that a number of candidates from both parties are also running in the majoritarian elections for the other 73 seats in the parliament. If they get elected they will have to renounce their place on the party list, enabling another person further down the list to replace them.
With the parties and their candidates finally known, it is now up to the Georgian people to make their decision as to which of the teams they want to run the country for the next five years.
Report Compiled by the editorial team of CEW.