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Civil Society Groups Name Their Pick for CEC Chair
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 23 Aug.'13 / 12:42

A group of eleven civil society organizations proposed on August 23 to President Saakashvili to name Tamar Zhvania as a candidate to chair Central Election Commission (CEC).

Tamar Zhvania was with local election observer group International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED) for seven years till 2007, working as its executive director in 2004-2007 before joining UNDP Tbilisi office as a manager of electoral assistance project. With a 13-year experience of working on electoral-related issues, Zhvania also served as election consultant and observer in Bangladesh, Ukraine and Kazakhstan.

President Saakashvili said in a statement on August 22 that he’s ready to nominate a candidate, which would be named jointly by the civil society groups, including by Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association (GYLA); ISFED and Transparency International Georgia.

Tamar Zhvania was named by the following organizations: ISFED; GYLA; TI Georgia; Georgian Democracy Initiative; Article 42 of Constitution; Open Society Georgia Foundation; Multinational Georgia; Coalition for Civic Development; Human Rights Education and Monitoring Center; Center for Development and Democracy and Election Environment Development Center.

The group said in a joint statement that while naming Tamar Zhvania, it was guided by her lengthy experience of working on election-related issues, her “apolitical” background and “objectivity.” The statement says that Tamar Zhvania is capable of cooperating both with political parties and civil society organizations and meets all the criteria for taking CEC chairperson’s post.

“We hope that like the Georgian President, the ruling coalition [Georgian Dream] will also show political will to support the candidate named by us,” the statement reads.

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 chairperson, then it will be up to the Parliament to elect new chairperson from three candidates, nominated by the President. 

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

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