President Saakashvili says he does not know Tamar Zhvania, who was proposed by a group of eleven civil society organizations for the post of Central Election Commission chairperson, but "should probably trust" proposal by non-governmental organizations.
“I do not know at all who Tamar Zhvania is,” Saakashvili said on August 23.
He said that he had offered Kakha Kozhoridze of the Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association (GYLA), Nino Lomjaria of the International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED) and Eka Gigauri of Transparency International Georgia to be the candidates.
Saakashvili said that he’s “not fond of these persons” as they were often “criticizing me unfairly.”
“But I think that they are sincere, committed, normal persons… That’s why I offered them [to be named as candidates for CEC chair]; I am sympathetic to these people and I think that they want good for the country,” he said.
These three persons, whom Saakashvili said he wanted to nominate, are not actually eligible to take the post of CEC chairperson as none of them have election administrator certificate – one of the requirements set by the law for becoming CEC chair.
“They did not want [to be the candidates] and named someone else, whom I do not know, and I should probably trust their judgment,” Saakashvili said.
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.
Justice Minister, Tea Tsulukiani, who chairs Inter-Agency Task Force for Free and Fair Elections, said that she also does not know personally Tamar Zhvania, but judging from civil society groups’ recommendations Zhvania will be “a competitive candidate.” She declined to comment whether the Georgian Dream coalition would endorse Zhvania if she’s nominated.