The Central Election Commission (CEC) voted narrowly in favor of keeping Georgian Dream mayoral candidates for Poti and Rustavi cities on ballot papers for the June 15 local elections, rejecting an appeal asking for revoking registration of GD’s candidates on the grounds of their failure to meet two-year residency requirement.
CEC ruled that GD’s Rustavi mayoral candidate Davit Jikia’s 180-day stay in Britain for studying and GD’s Poti mayoral candidate Irakli Kakulia’s residency in Kazakhstan in 2009-2012, where he worked, do not represent violation of a requirement according to which a candidate should live permanently in Georgia for last two years prior to the day when election date is set.
Last month CEC annulled registration of Irakli Okruashvili, ex-defense minister, who wanted to run for a mayor of Gori; his failure to meet two-year residency term was the reason behind CEC’s decision.
Seven members of 13-seat CEC voted in favor of keeping GD’s mayoral candidates on ballot papers.
CEC chairperson, Tamar Zhvania, was not among them; she suggested that this ruling of CEC was not consistent with commission’s previous decisions in similar cases.
She said that these recent cases were similar to the one of Okruashvili and in both instances she had similar approaches.
An appeal to revoke registration of GD’s mayoral candidate in Poti was filed in CEC by National-Democratic Movement and a similar appeal in case of mayoral candidate in Rustavi was filed by an election bloc of New Rights and Free Georgia parties. CEC’s ruling can be appealed to the court.