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CEC Complains about “Damaging Groundless Accusations” Ahead of Elections

On June 7, the Central Election Commission of Georgia issued a statement, complaining about the persisting “unverified, baseless, and damaging statements about the election process” ahead of the crucial Parliamentary elections on October 26. The CEC claims that such statements and assessments are spread from abroad as well.

The CEC does not specify which statement it refers to. The Commission echoes the ruling party’s longstanding narrative about alleged political interference in the elections and “discrediting of the electoral process” by civil society organizations, as well as repeats the accusations against the Western foundations for allegedly supporting the revolutionary processes in the country.

The CEC is no stranger to repeating the GD narrative. For instance, in February this year the Chairman of the Central Election Commission (CEC), Giorgi Kalandarishvili, claimed that an unidentified assailant had allegedly attempted to harm him several days earlier. Speaking on the pro-governmental Imedi TV, Kalandarishvili echoed the PM Irakli Kobakhidze’s and parliamentary majority leader’s Mamuka Mdinaradze’s claim that members of the opposition were allegedly trying to “get rid” of CEC Chair and seize control of the CEC, justifying the Parliament’s controversial decision to abolish the position of Deputy Chairman in the Commission which used to be occupied by an opposition representative.

Another controversial amendment, passed recently by the Parliament in spite of being vetoed by the President was the change in the procedure for electing the Chair and non-partisan members (“professional members”) of the Central Election Commission (CEC).  Meanwhile, the opposition and civil society organizations pointed out that the amendments undermine the neutrality of the CEC. They also pointed out that these changes do not meet the nine conditions of the European Commission and the recommendations of the Venice Commission.

“Even though the Election Administration [refers to the CEC] acts in full compliance with the principles of independence and impartiality, baseless accusations damaging the institution are spread in this direction as well,” the statement reads.

Considering the current context of the polarized election environment, the CEC claims that such statements serve the creation of “misconceptions” and “wrong perceptions.” “The dissemination of conclusions based on these statements damages the reputation of the Election Administration, the overall election environment, and the integrity of the elections.”

The CEC maintains that it’s efforts are focused on protecting the electoral process from political discourse and influence, and calls for “objective” support from stakeholders. “The Election Administration urges electoral stakeholders, including representatives of local and international organizations, to be objective and impartial, and to support the conduct of elections in a fair and transparent manner,” the statement reads.

The CEC expresses readiness to hold public meetings with stakeholders to inform them about the Election Administration’s efforts in preparing the October elections.

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This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)


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