Georgia’s President Sets Parliamentary Elections for October 8

TBILISI – Georgian President Giorgi Margvelasvili announced Tuesday at a special briefing that parliamentary elections will be held on October 8.

“I want to inform the public that the date of the parliamentary elections is set for October 8. The prime minister will receive the documentation to be signed into law by no later than tomorrow,” Margvelashvili said.

Georgia’s constitution calls for parliamentary election to be held in October, with the country’s president setting the exact date no later than two months before voters go to the polls.

Under the constitution, the Georgian Parliament’s 150 members serve four-year terms, with 77 seats set by proportional representation and 73 in single-seat constituencies.

The ruling Georgian Dream coalition dominates the current parliament with 85 seats.

The coalition – founded by Georgia’s eccentric billionaire oligarch Bidzina Ivanishvili – swept to power following a major prison scandal in 2012.

Comprised of six independent parties, it won the parliamentary elections four years ago and unseated pro-Western President Mikheil Saakashvili’s United National Movement (UNM) in the process.

Saakashvili and the UNM had dominated Georgian politics since the 2003 Rose Revolution ousted long-time former President Eduard Shevardnadze’s corrupt administration from power.

In recent weeks, however, the Georgian Dream appears to be unraveling as a number of its coalition members have withdrawn from the party.

The Republicans, a key faction in the ruling coalition, announced on March 31 that it plans to officially withdraw from the embattled Georgian Dream and run on its own ticket in October.

The departure of the coalition’s second largest faction could complicate the ruling party’s chances at re-election in the upcoming election.

Recent polls have shown widespread discontent with the Georgian Dream due to their poor handling of the country’s faltering economy and a lack of policy cohesion amongst its disparate members.

By Tamar Svanidze
Edited by Nicholas Waller

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