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President’s Administration disapproves of criticism directed towards CEC

By Tea Mariamidze
Thursday, August 18
The President’s Administration says that recent criticism towards the Central Election Commission (CEC) of Georgia connected to the removal of pro-Russian Centrists party from the election registration contains the danger of discrediting the CEC.

Head of the Presidential Administration Giorgi Abashishvili called on the parties to return to the election process, saying the problem is solved.

“There were some problems from the side of the CEC, but they are solved now…we call on all political parties to return to a qualified election process,” he said.

According to Abashishvili, representatives of the ruling party Georgian Dream (GD) and the opposition United National Movement (UNM) made statements discrediting the Central Election Commission, which is unacceptable.

The Centrists party was registered for the parliamentary election in June by CEC. However, two days ago, the Central Commission announced the removal of Centrists from the election registration, saying their leadership was not legal.

The Head of the CEC, Tamar Zhvania, stated on Tuesday that according to the Public Registry, the Centrists leaders do not have legal authority and they would not be able to run in the October parliamentary elections.

Prior this, members of the public and other political parties were requesting the removal of the Centrists from the elections due to their pro-Russian pre-election advertisement, which enlisted the following promises: “A Russian pension of 400 GEL, adoption of dual citizenship law and legalization of Russian military bases on Georgian territory."

Several political parties and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) criticized the CEC for registering the party, whose documentation was not in order.

The International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED) says the reasons behind this shortcoming occurred and how a pro-Russian party with faulty documentation was registered for the elections.

According to the ISFED's lawyer, Mikheil Benidze, it should be identified whether this was a result of the CEC's failures or if the party presented forged documentation during the registration process.

“The Public Registry and the CEC should have more communication between each other too,” he added.

The Georgian Young Lawyer’s Association (GYLA) says the new parliament has to take care of the deficit and eliminate the ambiguity that was revealed by this case on the legislative level.

According to the Chair of GYLA, Ana Natsvlishvili, the State Security Service and other agencies should also coordinate activities to prevent the occupation policies of Russia.

The UNM believes that the Central Election Commission's decision to cancel the registration of the Centrists is the result of pressure from the public.

Khatuna Gogorishvili, a member of the UNM, said it was the government’s order to create problems for the pro-Western opposition.

According to her, the Chair of CEC said the Commission is not obliged to verify the documents of political parties.

“However, they examined the United National Movement’s documents in detail and found shortcomings,” Gogorishvili stressed.