The Central Election Commission (CEC) stated on 8 August President Salome Zurabishvili’s decision not to nominate its acting chairperson Giorgi Kalandarishvili, or any other acting members, for the full term was politically biased, and pointed to the presidential administration’s justification for that decision as a proof.
The Presidential administration explained on August 6 that the decision not to re-nominate Kalandarishvili, or any other interim members, was caused by the fact that the Parliament previously failed to endorse candidacies with required 2/3 majority twice, resulting ad interim, six months appointments, according to the law.
President nominated Tamar Alfaidze and Revaz Egadze as candidates for CEC chair. She also nominated two candidates for CEC member, and re-issued call for applications for another CEC member vacancy.
In response, Kalandarishvili said, “this decision [of the President] was somewhat unexpected.” “I don’t know about the circumstances and motives that formed the basis of this particular decision, especially in light of the fact that I have already been nominated by the President twice… Therefore, it would be interesting to hear the explanations that the administration will have in this direction if there are any,” he added.
CEC statement recognizes that the President did not question the professionalism of the acting CEC chairperson, and appreciated his experience and work, but took an issue with the Presidential Administration’s explanation that the aim was to establish a wider political consensus for competitive positions. CEC said “given the political situation when the candidates are being discredited though completely baseless accusations, [such consensus] is quite difficult to achieve.”
The CEC denoted that the decision made by the President in this regard “became a reason for political insinuations” that the current CEC members may have interfered with the due conduct of the 2021 elections.
They highlighted that this “harms not only the professional dignity of specific persons participating in the competition but also the reputation of the election administration as an independent and impartial arbiter.”
Along this line, the election administration underscored that they are an “independent body which works in compliance with democratic principles, professionally, transparently and it is unfortunate that assessment of this institution and its representative’s work is being made not by objective criteria but by political motivations.”
The statement concluded that “regardless of the decision made by the President concerning the contest, the election administration and its chair, in accordance with the law, keep working in the usual manner.”