Georgia’s Central Election Commission (CEC) Chair Tamar Zhvania announced Tuesday that the controversial pro-Russian Centrist Party has been barred from taking part in the upcoming October Parliamentary Elections following the party’s release of a campaign ad promoting integration with Moscow. Zhvania said the party’s leadership had failed to legally register themselves and would be barred from running in the October polls. “The Centrists’ leadership is not legal, therefore I signed a decree cancelling the registration of the party,” said Tamar Zhvania at a special briefing.
Prior to the CEC’s decision, the ruling Georgian Dream coalition and the country’s main opposition parties appealed to the CEC to ban the party after a Centrist campaign advertisement aired on Georgia’s Public Broadcaster on August 13 that featured a Russian flag, Russian soldiers and a photo of Russian President Vladimir Putin, with a voiceover message that promised “Russian pensions, a dual citizenship law with Moscow and Russian military bases inside Georgia’s borders.”
The public broadcaster immediately suspended the advertisement, saying “it (the ad) contains messages that threaten Georgia’s sovereignty and contradicts the Constitution.”
On Saturday, the International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED) filed a motion with the Tbilisi City Court to ban the Centrists from taking part in the parliamentary elections, but their motion was rejected.