Georgian ruling party’s sway over election commission boosted before October poll

Mar25,2024



TBILISI: Speakers of GeorgiaParliament on Monday signed a law giving the Assembly more powers over the Election Commission. parliamentary elections By October, in what critics have called pre-polling usurp power,
Parliament had rejected the veto on this bill last week. President Salome ZourabichviliJoe was elected with the support of the ruling Georgian Dream party, but has since accused him of undemocratic and pro-Russian tendencies.
The law enables the parliament, controlled by the Georgian Dream Bloc, to nominate commission members from among candidates selected by Speaker Shalva Papushvili, who is also a member of the bloc.
Critics have said the move would strengthen Georgian Dream's control over elections, at a time when the government has been accused of becoming more authoritarian.
Zourabichvili said the changes could lead to “partisan and ruling party-controlled election administration”.
Polls indicate that Georgian Dream, which is seeking a fourth consecutive term, remains the most popular party but has lost ground since 2020, when it won a narrow parliamentary majority.
The party is believed to be controlled by its founder, Georgia's richest man, former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili.
It has ruled since 2012, the longest tenure in power of any party since the South Caucasus country gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.



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