The Georgian parliament has elected Giorgi Kalandarishvili as the new head of the Central Election Commission (CEC) in a fourth vote, following the resignation of the body’s former chair Tamar Zhvania in late June.
Two other individuals, Gia Tsatsashvili and Maia Zaridze, were elected members of the commission.
Zhvania’s resignation was preceded by electoral amendments which were proposed by the ruling party and opposition party Citizens and were revised in line with the EU-mediated agreement that resolved the political standoff caused by parliamentary elections of 2020 and afterwards were adopted in the Georgian parliament.
Per the amendments, the CEC head can now be elected only by the Georgian parliament with the Georgian president’s nomination and not by the CEC itself.
Giorgi Kalandarishvili’s candidacy received 83 votes in favour and three votes against, while Tsatsashvili’s and Zaridze’s candidacies for the membership on the CEC were supported by 81 votes.
In the previous three votes none of the candidates received either 100 or 90 votes, therefore the newly elected candidates have been appointed to the posts for six months, instead of five years.
The new head of the CEC Kalandarishvili has worked on the CEC for 13 years. He was appointed as the head of the CEC Human Resources Management Department in 2019.
NGOs and the majority of opposition political parties did not support Kalandarishvili’s candidacy for the post and expressed their distrust by questioning his independence.
Several opposition parties refused to participate in the voting process.