Saakashvili Comments on Selecting CEC Chair, Pre-Election Climate
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 20 Aug.'13 / 22:38

President Saakashvili said he had not yet picked up possible candidates for Central Election Commission chairmanship, but added that candidates should be from non-governmental organizations.

“I think that we should nominate a candidate from non-governmental sector. We should nominate such candidates on which the entire society will say that they are unbiased and objective. There should be no political inclination in this issue,” he told journalists at a news conference on August 20.

CEC chairperson’s post became vacant after Zurab Kharatishvili filed resignation on August 12 to pursue career in politics.

According to the law President should select three candidates for CEC chairmanship in consultations with the civil society groups; then the political party-appointed members of CEC, except of UNM-appointed member, should select one from these three candidates. Other party-appointed CEC members are Georgian Dream coalition representatives. If CEC members fail to elect the new chairman, then it becomes up to the Parliament to elect new chairman from three candidates, nominated by the President. Law requires CEC chairperson to be a certified election officer – the one who passed election administrator certification exam. 

“I have not yet defined who [the candidates] might be, but I am aware about those working in local NGOs, international organizations; [candidates] should be selected among those who are the most authoritative, who are often visible and who will not be afraid to voice publicly unbiased position – that’s important during upcoming elections, as well as during other elections,” Saakashvili said.

Speaking about electoral campaign environment in general, President Saakashvili said referring to former interior minister and ex-PM Vano Merabishvili that in the condition when secretary general of “leading opposition party is behind the bars for very groundless charges, question mark in itself arises over many issues about this electoral campaign.”

Saakashvili also said that “there is also a problem with the media environment” and mentioned in this context closing down of PM Ivanishvili’s Channel 9 TV; he said it was “bad”.

Also on media, he complained that the Georgian Public Broadcaster edited his interview earlier this month in away to remove all those portions in which he was criticizing the Russian leadership. “Everything that could have upset Medvedev and Putin somehow disappeared from President’s interview,” Saakashvili said.

Saakashvili also said that he’s not going to get involved “actively” in the election campaign for UNM party’s presidential candidate Davit Bakradze. “That’s not President’s function,” he said.

He also said that after his presidential term expires following the October 27 presidential elections, he’s thinking about launching a school of politics in Tbilisi and opening of a wine education centre in Kakheti region.

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