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CEC Divided over Voter Lists

Opposition members of the Central Election Commission (CEC) have alleged that voter lists might be “artificially inflated” by the authorities to rig the forthcoming election.

The total number of registered voters is 3,372,179, according to the CEC.

Davit Bardavelidze and Nino Goguadze, CEC members from the Freedom and Conservative parties, respectively, have questioned these numbers. Both parties are members of the nine-party opposition coalition, which backs Levan Gachechiladze for the presidency.

Speaking at a news conference held at the bloc’s headquarters on December 11, the two CEC members said the current number of voters was up by about one million from 2004. There were about 2.6 million registered voters for the 2004 parliamentary elections and over 3.2 million for the 2006 local self-governance elections.

Levan Tarkhnishvili, the CEC chairman, however, dismissed the allegations, saying they couldn’t be taken seriously and were “absolutely groundless.”

“They either don’t know what they’re talking about, or are deliberately trying to mislead the public,” Tarkhnishvili told the Georgian Public Broadcaster. “They’re comparing two different voter lists – the 2004 one, with 2.6 million registered voters, only included those who actually turned up at the polling stations to register themselves, which was not the actual number of voters.”

Tarkhnishvili also took issue with his CEC colleagues for making “political statements.”

“They are members of the CEC, hence public officials. It’s really strange to see CEC members making political statements at a news conference held at a political party headquarters,” Tarkhnishvili said.


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