Parliament fails again to elect Central Election Commission head, members in third vote

The chairman of the CEC will be elected to the post for six months, instead of five years. Photo: Nino Alavidze/, 26 Jul 2021 - 17:56, Tbilisi,Georgia

The Georgian parliament has failed to elect a new chairperson and members of the Central Election Commission (CEC) for the third time, following the resignation of the CEC’s head Tamar Zhvania on June 30. 

Zhvania’s resignation was demanded by the opposition following the 2020 parliamentary elections, of which they accused her of helping the ruling Georgian Dream party to fabricate.

Further changes came to the country’s electoral system on June 28 thanks to the EU-mediated agreement, which put an end to the political standoff in Georgia caused by the parliamentary elections of October 31. 

Per the new amendments, the CEC chairperson can be elected only by the parliament of Georgia with the nomination of the Georgian president and not by the CEC itself. 

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 90 votes in the third vote.

In the previous two votes, none of the chairperson candidates received 100 votes. 

Kalandarishvili’s candidacy received 81 votes in favour and seven against at today’s session, while Santuriani was supported by three MPs, and voted against. 

One more vote is left for the election of the head and members of CEC, for which 76 votes will be enough for the appointment to the vacant posts. 

However, in this case, the chairman of the CEC will be elected to the post for six months, instead of five years. 

Several opposition parties have expressed distrust in the proposed candidates and refuse to participate in the voting process. 

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.’