The President of Georgia met with representatives of local governments

Mikheil Saakashvili met with and addressed leaders of local and regional governments today. The President of Georgia focused attention on the issues of rehabilitating the country and the elections planned in October. As the Head of State noted, the Georgian State will protect the right of every citizen to make a free and democratic choice. According to him, the future elections will be maximally open, transparent, and democratic and will be based on the principle of fairness and the rule of law.

"As Head of State, I am proud to be able to count on you to ensure this fundamental right of every citizen to actively campaign for whomever he or she wants in every region, in every neighborhood, in every town, and in every village," he told the gathered leaders. "We are-I am-absolutely committed to ensuring that all political forces, all opinions, all political options will be on the big common table that is our public debate, accessible to every citizen."

Mikheil Saakashvili also touched on the legislative initiative related to TV broadcasting during the pre-election time period.

“I fully support the Parliament's initiative to further improve the legislation in order to ensure that all news-based channels will be available on every single cable network. This legislation will be among the most advanced and progressive in the world when it comes to access to media during electoral campaigns." – noted the President of Georgia.

The President underscored that allegations, often false, would be made against government employees for supposedly trying to unfairly influence the vote. As for the lies, which certain forces are trying to claim publically, according to the Head of State, the best way to deal with them is to administer exemplary work.

"Certain forces will try to misinform the public about your work. The best way to deal with this is to be exemplary in the way we protect the free choice of the people; to be exemplary in making sure that no political force, including the ruling party, can influence voters via non-legal means; to be exemplary in our strict implementation of the rules forbidding the use of administrative resources for campaign purposes, and to be exemplary in protecting democracy, which means protecting the future of Georgia." – stated Mikheil Saakashvili.

The President was unambiguous in underscoring the trustworthiness of the democratic institutions of Georgia. "Repeated attempts to undermine the law will be met both by the strict implementation of the law and by the exemplarity of State actors during the entire electoral campaign and process." – noted the Head of State.

"In the face of this disproportionate effort to buy our democracy, we propose a dual approach: a proportionate law enforcement policy coupled with a disproportionate effort to ensure that the upcoming campaign is open, transparent and democratic. We have built, over the past eight years, a system in which everyone, I insist, everyone, must abide by the law; a system in which the law stands above all of us regardless of our social or religious backgrounds, our wealth or our political affiliation, our past or our name. The Georgian people understand this. This is why they place their trust in these new institutions more than in any individual figure. I am proud that we have built institutions together that are able to respond to huge challenges by further opening the system rather than by closing it,"- the President said in closing. 

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