New commission will clean up voters list: Katsitadze
By Salome Modebadze
Thursday, February 23New Rights MP Mamuka Katsitadze, who has been elected to the newly-established voters' list commission, promised that the list will be as accurate as possible.
Among the many shortcomings of the electoral process, the voters' list has always been a special challenge for political parties. Recently, several opposition parties (Christian Democrats, New Rights, Industry Will Save Georgia, European Democrats of Georgia, and National Democratic Movement) working on improvements of the electorate environment signed a memorandum with the ruling United National movement regarding the election code. This ushered in legislative changes which intend to update and correct the voters' list.
In order to avoid a decision-making process dominated by the government, a special 21-member commission was created. Seven members come from opposition parties, seven from the ruling United National Movement, and seven members are from non-governmental organizations. The commission will compile the list from mid-April to mid-June.
According to Katsitadze, 11 100 specially-trained individuals will visit each residence in Georgia to cross-check the voters' list and avoid deceased or illegal registrations. A representative from the International Foundation for Electoral Systems – a global leader in election assistance and democracy promotion – will monitor the process.
Noting that the government is in the minority on the commission, Katsitadze says that the list will not be used to “rais[e] the political temperature” in the country.
“If public and political groups mistrust our commission and want to make parallel door-to-door registration with their finances, we would only welcome such initiatives,” he said, stressing that such engagement would increase the commission’s motivation. “If we miss some shortcomings and someone [else] finds them, we would eradicate [the problems],” Katsitadze promised.
He also asked the public to avoid manipulating the list, but rather co-ordinate with the commission as that body will define the final results.
Stressing that the list should not prompt street protests, Katsitadze believes that if the commission can live up to their goals and eradicate inconsistencies through the door-to-door method, the voters' list will be the healthiest segment of the election environment.