ISFED Says Legal Deadline for Election of CEC Chairperson, Members Expired    

The International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED) said the deadline to elect the chairperson and members of the Central Election Commission (CEC) has expired, and called on the Parliament to act “in a timely manner.” 

In a statement released on September 26, ISFED cited the Parliament’s Rules of Procedure (Article 204, Paragraph 7) as saying that the Parliament shall elect the CEC chairperson and members within two weeks after the nomination of candidates by the President, “unless otherwise provided for by a legislative act of Georgia.”  

Referring to the electoral code of Georgia (Article 12, Paragraph 9), ISFED noted that the Parliament shall elect CEC members no later than 14 days after the President of Georgia submits candidates to the Parliament of Georgia.  

Given the fact that Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili presented two CEC chairmanship candidates and two membership candidates per each of two vacant seats on August 5 and August 26, ISFED claims that a two-week term for electing them has already expired.  

Background story

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 that “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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