TI Georgia and ISFED are leaving the process of staffing the CEC Advisory Group
According to the June 2021 amendments to the Election Code of Georgia, within 10 days from the day of calling the elections, an advisory group of the Central Election Commission (CEC) with at least 9 and not more than 15 members should be formed to submit recommendations on election disputes to the CEC. The Advisory Group should be composed of a representative of the Public Defender's Office of Georgia and international and / or local experts selected by the election observer organizations. To this end, the CEC drafted a resolution stipulating that no less than 7 and no more than 11 candidates for the group should be submitted to the CEC by local observer organizations. The CEC also invited Transparency International Georgia and the International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy to select the members of the Group, which we agreed on. However, the list of the organizations invited to select the members of the Advisory Group and the decision-making procedure, in our opinion, can not ensure the selection of qualified and reliable people by consensus.
The CEC invited all local observer organizations that were registered with the CEC during the last three general elections to select members of the Advisory Group. During the first meeting, we were informed that 15 such observer organizations expressed a desire to participate in this process. However, the credibility, good reputation, operations, and financial transparency of the vast majority of these organizations can be seriously questioned. Many of them have been repeatedly negatively reported in the election assessments of the credible international and local observer organizations.
In addition, the CEC resolution initially stated that observer organizations should select members of the Advisory Group by consensus. However, on August 6, the CEC amended the resolution stating that if the members of the Advisory Group could not be selected by consensus, they still would have a second chance. During the second vote, candidates can be selected by the support of at least ⅔ of the observer organizations. This change made it possible for the CEC Advisory Group to be fully staffed by observers with a dubious reputation.
In light of these circumstances, we are leaving the selection process of the members of the Advisory Group. It is unfortunate that, despite setting ambitious electoral reform goals, the selection of both new CEC members and an Advisory Group has been flawed and is unlikely to increase confidence in the election administration.
Transparency International Georgia
International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED)