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NeoCon Nirvana: Tbilisi, Georgia Eyes Biometric Voter Registry

The authorities plan to launch issuing biometric IDs from June, 2011. According to the calculations, submitted by the ruling party to the election system reform working group, also involving negotiators from the opposition parties, each such ID will about GEL 35.2 (about USD 20.5) and with the current capacity of Civil Registry Agency it can issue maximum of 60,000 biometric IDs per month. It means that providing over 3.5 million voters, which have been registered in voter list for 2010 local elections, with biometric IDs will require at least five years and at least GEL 125 million (the ruling party calculates that it will require GEL 132.1 million, which is about USD 76.8 mln on the assumption that voters’ number will be over 3.7 million, the figure disputed by the opposition). The authorities also say that in order to speed up the process so that to provide all voters with ID cards within 14 months (starting from June, 2011 so that to complete the process before October, 2012 when the next parliamentary elections are scheduled according to the current formulation in the constitution), the Civil Registry Agency will need to increase its capacity, including through recruiting additional staff and opening more regional branches, which will require additional GEL 57.7 million (about USD 33.5 mln), thus making an overall cost of 14-month project GEL 189.8 million (about USD 110.4 mln).

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