Georgia’s Central Election Commission (CEC) has turned down an application from the opposition Labor Party to hold a referendum asking voters whether to pull Georgian troops out of Afghanistan or not.
CEC says in its decision on April 26 that the Georgian legislation gives the President authority to decide on contributing troops to international missions (such a decision requires approval from the Parliament).
CEC says that taking a decision on this issue through the proposed referendum “will limit the President’s authority, which can only be done through passing a new law and that would be in conflict with the election code according to which holding of a referendum for adopting/annulling of a law is inadmissible.”
Giorgi Gugava of Labor Party said that his party would appeal the CEC decision to the court.
In February Labor Party called on opposition parties in Georgia to sign a declaration that would demand withdrawal of 935-strong Georgian force from Afghanistan. So far only Free Georgia opposition party, led by Kakha Kukava, has joined the declaration.
Georgia has lost sixteen of its soldiers in Afghanistan with the most recent fatality reported this week.
Georgia plans to send one additional infantry battalion to Afghanistan on top of 936 Georgian soldiers who already serve there. After the deployment of additional battalion Georgia will become the largest non-NATO contributor to the ISAF.