President Selects Two Candidates for CEC Membership

President Salome Zurabishvili presented the candidacies of Natia Tsiptauri and Giorgi Marsagishvili on 26 August for one vacant position for membership of the Central Election Commission (CEC).

A total of three candidates expressed a desire to become CEC members, albeit none of the members of the selection commission supported Davit Petviashvili’s candidacy, and only Tsiptauri and Marsagishvili were presented to the President.

Prior to this decision, President Zurabishvili presented two candidacies for the chairpersonship and membership of the CEC to Parliament and announced a re-competition for the second vacant membership seat.

Significantly, President Zurabishvili did not submit the candidacy of the acting chairperson, Giorgi Kalandarishvili as a candidate for chairperson of the CEC. She justified her decision by the fact that Kalandarishvili failed to obtain the required votes for a chairperson to be elected for a 5-year term from deputies on two occasions in the past.

At the time, Kalandarishvili said in a conversation with Interpressnewsthat “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.

Shortly after, the CEC stated that President Zurabishvili’s decision not to nominate Kalandarishvili for the position, or any other acting members, for the full term was politically biased.

Parliament Speaker Shalva Papuashvili also addressed the President’s nomination of candidates for the chairpersonship of the CEC and emphasized that it is “regrettable” that she did not “objectively” justify why she did not select Kalandarishvili and any issues she may have had with his competence. “In my opinion, this is the encouragement of the opposition’s radical agenda,” he said.

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