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New Rights to Head Commission on Voters' Lists

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Friday, November 18
As expected, one of the representatives of the opposition New Rights party, Mamuka Katsitadze, was elected as the chair of the recently founded commission for voters’ lists, on November 17. At the same time, the staff and the aims of the commission also became known.

The appointment of Katsitadze was preceded by his statement that the New Rights was not going “to watch the situation from a distance “and that the party had a pretension to “take the reins in its hands.” After the first meeting of the commission, Katsitadze was elected as the commission head. The deputy chair is to be Lasha Meladze from the National Movement. As for the commission's secretary, Badri Niauri, from the NGO Centre for Democracy was chosen.

The commission consists of 21 members, 7 from those opposition parties signed a memorandum with the ruling party regarding the election code, (Christian-Democrats, New Rights, Industry will save Georgia, European Democrats of Georgia, National-Democratic Movement), 7 from the National Movement and 7 from different NGOs acting in Georgia.

The aim of the commission is to recheck voters’ lists, including going door to door. As one of the leaders of the ruling party, Pavle Kublashvili mentioned, ”the fact that government, opposition and NGOs recheck the voters’ lists is very important and this is one of the main issues regarding election issues.”

“If there are no disturbances, the upcoming elections will be held in better, more improved conditions,” a member of the National-Democrats, Giorgi Gogniashvili, said, emphasizing the responsibility of participating in the process and adding that, ”it will be a difficult process, but somebody has to do it for the voters' lists to be improved.”

At the same time NGOs have decided to become more involved in election issues and, apart from those that took part in the commission, a coalition for Freedom of Choice was established. The coalition unites 8 NGOs and two analysts.

According to the leader of the NGO Media Club of Georgia, Magda Popiashvili, less than a year is left till the elections and it is necessary to create a legal base for free and competitive elections to be formed. As she mentioned, ”problems regarding impartial media and human rights issues still exist, thus society’s involvement in forming the election environment is very important.”

According to another member of the coalition, Irakli Melashvili, ”the coalition plans to collaborate with all forces and suggest ways of solving problems, thus no political parties will be represented in the coalition.”

The great majority of the opposition, which is demanding elections with the use of biometric IDs, has already made up its mind regarding the elections. These parties and groups expect no principle changes regarding the election environment, as agreements made with coalescing opposition party was merely a 'game', which some opposition parties decided to play. Moreover, they call those certain parties which signed the memorandum with the ruling party “traitors.”