A TV advertisement has appeared two days before the July 12 second round runoffs of local elections in which several business groups promise voters discounts in their retail chains if they go and cast ballot on Saturday.
“On July 12, on the day when second round runoffs are held, business companies get united for common goal,” man’s voiceover in the ad says. “Go to elections, undergo marking procedures and cast ballot your favorable candidate; before the end of the election day, show your marking [on finger] to following retailers and enjoy with special discounts – 20% discount at McDonalds and Wendy’s; 22% discount at PSP, Aversi and GPC [drug store chains]; 15% discount at Goodwill and Smart [supermarkets]; 5 tetri discount at Gulf and Wissol [gas stations chains]; express your position; go to elections. Business for civil society.”
System of marking a finger with invisible ink to avoid multiple voting is in practice in Georgia for a decade already; an election official checks with a special device each voter entering a polling station to see if ink was applied; retailers will also require those ink checking devices if they decide to stick strictly to terms voiced in their get-out-the-vote ad.
One of the new political TV ads of Georgian Dream ruling coalition also focuses only on calls for high voter turnout.
“Don’t ask others to perform their duties, if you don’t perform your own. Express you will; go to elections; this is your duty. For the first time in Georgia’s history second round [of local elections] will be held and you participation now is especially important. Your vote wins, choose future,” says man’s voiceover in the ad as Georgian Dream’s number on the ballot paper appears on screen.
Voter turnout in the first round of local elections on June 15 was 43,31%. In capital Tbilisi 37.3% of voters turned out at the polling stations.
Second round of elections will be held in mayoral races in capital city Tbilisi and seven other self-governed cities: Batumi, Rustavi, Telavi, Gori, Mtskheta, Ozurgeti and Poti.
Runoffs will also be held in races for gamgebeli (municipal executive) in 13 municipalities: Kvareli; Telavi; Tianeti; Akhmeta; Terjola; Khoni; Tkibuli; Martvili; Kobuleti; Bagdati; Gori; Lanchkhuti and Khulo.