President Saakashvili signed a decree on November 15 setting up of a state-funded 21-member commission in charge of verifying accuracy of the voters list ahead of the next year’s parliamentary elections.
The commission is part of the electoral system reform deal signed by the ruling party and several opposition parties this summer; six opposition parties have refused to join the deal, citing that it was failing to secure fair electoral system.
14 members of the commission are representatives from the political parties, including seven of them from the ruling National Movement party.
Each of the following parties have one representative in the commission: Christian-Democratic Movement (CDM), a leading party of the small parliamentary minority group; New Rights Party; Industry Will Save Georgia; National-Democratic Party; Georgia’s European Democrats (formerly On Our Own party); Democratic Party of Georgia; Christian-Democratic People’s Party. An opposition representative will be elected as a chairperson of the commission.
Seven members of the commission are representatives of the non-governmental organizations, among them election observer group New Generation-New Initiative (nGnI).
Three other major watchdog groups – International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED); Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association (GYLA) and Transparency International Georgia – have declined to join the commission. These groups, which are regularly monitoring electoral-related developments and elections in the country, said joining such commission would amount to taking responsibility for compiling the voters list – something they view as being far beyond their mandate. They, however, said would continue to keep a close eye on the process with a purpose of monitoring.
According to the amendment to the election code, the voters list, approved by the commission after rechecking process and submitted to the Central Election Commission, will “represent unified list of voters.”
July 1, 2012 is set as a deadline for the commission to complete voter list rechecking.