The Georgian parliament has failed to elect a new head of the Central Election Commission (CEC) for a second time following the resignation of the body’s chairperson Tamar Zhvania in late June.
Zhvania’s resignation followed electoral amendments proposed by the ruling Georgian Dream party and the opposition party Citizens which were revised in compliance with the EU-mediated agreement which ended months of political crisis caused by the parliamentary elections of 2020 and afterwards were adopted in the Georgian parliament on June 28.
The candidacies of Giorgi Kalandarishvili and Giorgi Santuriani were submitted for the chair of the CEC by Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili to parliament, but none of them received the required 100 votes to be elected to the position for a five-year term.
Kalandarishvili received 83 votes in favour and 11 against, while Santuriani was supported by four votes and 11 were against.
Another vote will take place in the near future which will require 90 votes and if the candidate again fails to get this number of votes, then 76 votes will be enough for the election to the post for six months.
Vice-speaker of Parliament Archil Talakvadze said that the opposition was not ‘properly involved’ in the process of selecting candidates for the CEC chairmanship and assessed it as a ‘weak and crooked’ decision.
Talakvadze accused the opposition of ‘escaping from its political responsibility’ and pledged that the ruling party will elect the ‘most deserving candidate’ for the post.
A leader of the opposition United National Movement party, Khatia Dekanoidze, expressed distrust of the selected candidates and noted that the approval of Kalandarishvili’s candidacy violates the agreement and that following such a move ‘trust in the CEC would not be restored.’
The NGO sector did not support the CEC chairmanship candidates either, noting that the selected candidates ‘do not meet the most important criteria, which is high public credibility.’