David Usupashvili has made his final address as Georgia’s Parliament Speaker and voiced his key messages to political players and the wider public ahead of tomorrow’s Parliamentary Elections.
Usupashvili said the October 8 elections would be held with "unprecedented political freedom”, which was how it should be but at the same time placed more responsibilities on political players and the public.
Firstly, he said it was vital all political players and parties accepted the election results announced by Georgia’s Central Election Commission (CEC) and to refrain from acting based on pre-election polls or on research they read, were offered or commissioned.
This is very important. We must have trust in the Central Election Commission and the Georgian state because a range of steps have been taken to ensure political freedom and electoral democracy in the country,” Usupashvili said.
But recent efforts to provide a free, fair and transparent election environment would come to nothing if people did not vote tomorrow. He urged everyone in Georgia to vote tomorrow.
While addressing the public he said: "Your freedom of choice had been guaranteed. More freedom means more responsibility. I am sure that more freedom has created a situation where many voters haven’t yet decided who to vote for.
"This is good but it means we need to think harder because we must take responsibility for our choices,” said Usupashvili.
Then he addressed state agencies and said it was imperative every agency, organisation, group and person adhered to the rules and fulfilled their obligations.
All state institutions, not only police, must adhere to legal responsibilities and serve the state interests. They must stay in service of Georgian statehood and not of some political party, leader or any other interests,” Usupashvili said.
Usupashvili said Parliament's role would increase after the October 8 elections. Photo by Parliament of Georgia's press office.
For the first time in the history of Georgia, after the October 8 Parliamentary Elections, Georgia will fully move to a Parliamentary and not Presidential state arrangement, which meant the newly elected Parliament will play a key role in forming the of future Government, Usupashvili said.
This means the Parliament elected through [tomorrow’s] elections will decide the future of the state. So we must elect the people who are capable of leading the country to a better future and not those who waste time by engaging in rivalry with opponents; dividing the country, or worse” he said.
Looking ahead, Usupashvili believed there will be a second round of voting in some majoritarian districts, which will happen if first-past-the-post candidates do not receive more than 50 percent of support in the first round. If this happened, he hoped people would continue to act responsibly and the election environment would remain calm.
Before the new Parliament is elected, the current one will continue fulfilling its duties until the new one is sworn in. It is the matter of dignity for each political player to peacefully complete the election process,” Usupashvili said.
Usupashvili currently leads the Republican Party, which is participating separately from the ruling party in the October 8 Parliamentary Elections.
The Republican Party was one of the members of the Georgian Dream (GD) coalition, which defeated the nine-year rule of United National Movement (UNM) at the 2012 Parliamentary Elections.
However the GD coalition has since split ahead of tomorrow’s elections and most parties are competing individually.