eng_2013 საპრეზიდენტო

ISFED’s Position about the Refusal of the CEC to Register Zuabishvili as Presidential Candidate

The Central Elections Commission (CEC) issued an order N64/2013, dated September 13, 2013, refusing Ms. Salome Zourabishvili registration as a candidate for the upcoming presidential elections, stating that a citizen of Georgia who is also holding the citizenship of France falls short of the requirements prescribed by para.11, Article 29 of the Constitution of Georgia.

ISFED has expressed on a number of occasions its opinion about registration of persons holding dual citizenship as presidential candidates. We believe that the order issued by the CEC Acting Chairperson refusing Salome Zourabishvili registration as a candidate for the presidential elections is in conflict with constitutional norms.

Para.1-1, Article 29 of the Constitution of Georgia that has been cited as legal grounds for the foregoing order stipulates that “office of the president of Georgia… shall not be held by a citizen of Georgia who is also holding a foreign citizenship.” ISFED believes that the norm does not apply to persons participating in elections as candidates; rather, the Constitution differentiates between election of a president and holding the position of a president, while the prohibition stipulated by para.11, Article 29 of the Constitution applies only to holding of the office. Therefore, under the applicable law persons holding dual citizenship may participate in presidential elections as presidential candidates but they must abandon foreign citizenship prior to taking the oath of office.

In this light, ISFED believes that the CEC refusal to register Ms. Salome Zourabishvili as presidential candidate is based on wrongful interpretation of the Constitution.

We remain hopeful that Tbilisi City Court’s Board of Administrative Cases, where Ms. Zourabishvili plans to appeal the order, will deliver an objective and acceptable ruling.