Is Margvelashvili’s pre-election campaign really in line with the “new political standard”?
Giorgi Margvelashvili claimed that he has resigned from his post of a Minister of Education and Science of Georgia to take a step towards setting the “new political standard”. Since the law did not oblige him to do so, we may evaluate his move as a positive one. However, Margvelashvili’s loyalty to the policy he proclaimed has been undermined by his recent public appearances. We mean his presence at a presentation presentation of a print version of the newly adopted Labor Code organized by the Ministry of Justice of Georgia and at the Tushetoba holiday celebration organized by the Akhmeta Municipality where he travelled by a helicopter. We don't currently know if the helicopter is owned by the state or not.
The issue of Margvelashvili's appearence at the state-funded public events was discussed by the Inter-Agency Task Force for Free and Fair Elections (IATF) where it was also stated that the candidate named by the Georgian Dream Coalition had attended public events organized by the Ministries of Culture and Reintegration.
A candidate’s presence at such events violates several laws; it breaches the amendments to the Election Code already adopted by the Parliament — that agitation at the event financed by the state government is to be qualified as a utilization of administrative resources; an agitation, according to the current code, may be any public action that aids or impedes individual’s election. An individual’s attendance of a public event is a state-financed platform which clearly contributes to his election success. Such practice also helps the candidate save his financial resources, a fact that may be viewed as an illegal donation received from the state structure.
Margvelashvili has not yet officially registered as a presidential candidate and, thus, is not formally obliged to avoid the above-mentioned practice, as well as leave his post of a Minister. However, since the election campaign has already started, the candidacy registration is only a formality. We urge the future candidate of the Georgian Dream Coalition to adhere to the:
- OSCE Copenhagen document, according to which there should be a clear distinction between the state and the political parties, which was violated in the above-mentioned cases;
- high political standard he has declared and refrain from using administrative resources before officially registering as a candidate for presidency, since the voters already perceive him as one.
Photos: Information Center Kakheti, http://ick.ge/