The Central Election Commission (CEC) has decided to establish five additional polling stations abroad on top of 40 election precincts already existing in Georgia’s diplomatic missions in 38 cities of 32 countries.
CEC said on Thursday that one polling station would be opened in each of the following cities: Barcelona; Budapest; Dublin; Lisbon and Ottawa.
With this decision number of polling stations abroad will increase to 45 in total of 43 cities of 36 countries.
Two other polling stations were planned in Amman, Jordan and in Tehran, Iran; but CEC decided on September 13 not to open precincts there citing not enough number of voters there.
The registration of overseas voters, deadline of which was extended for three days, expires on September 13.
As of September 10, there were total of 42,613 overseas voters eligible to cast ballot, according to CEC.
There are two forms of registration under which Georgian citizens living abroad can become eligible to cast ballot in the October 1 parliamentary elections.
Those who already have “consulate registration” with the Georgian diplomatic missions aboard are already eligible to vote – number of such registered voters was 41,204 as of September 10.
There is also another form of registration, which is easier one than “consulate registration” because it does not require submitting to the diplomatic mission proof-of-residency. Only 1,409 overseas voters were registered under this simplified form as of September 10, according to CEC.
But this simplified form of registration requires from an overseas voter to arrive in person at the diplomatic mission to submit an identification card, or documents can be submitted by an authorized representative of a voter who wants to be registered. The Georgian Dream opposition coalition, led by Bidzina Ivanishvili, appealed court requesting to also allow other forms of submitting documents, for example such as sending documents via post, but the court rejected the appeal.
The largest number of polling stations in a single country is in Greece – two in the capital Athens and two others in the country’s second biggest city of Thessaloniki .
There are three polling stations in Turkey – Ankara, Istanbul and Trabzon; three in Ukraine – Kiev, Odessa and Donetsk; two in the United States – Washington D.C. and New York and there will be two in Spain – Madrid and Barcelona.
In other locations there is one polling station in each of the following cities of 31 countries: Vienna; Baku; Minsk; Brussels; Sofia; Berlin; Copenhagen; London; Cairo; Tallinn; Tel-Aviv; Rome; Nicosia; Riga; Vilnius; The Hague; Warsaw; Bucharest; Paris; Bratislava; Yerevan; Tashkent; Al-Kuwait; Astana; Stockholm; Bern; Prague; Budapest; Dublin; Lisbon and Ottawa.
There will be no polling stations in Russia.
“Opening an election precinct in Russia is definitely a problematic issue,” Nino Kalandadze, the Georgian deputy foreign minister, said on September 10. “We have been discussing this issue a lot. But in the condition of not having diplomatic relations it is very difficult to technically provide safe conditions for holding elections.”