NGOs respond to the CEC statement
On April 14, the Central Election Commission released a statement in response to the opinions expressed by non-governmental organizations regarding the appointment of precinct election commission secretaries. The CEC statement notes that “competent opinions on such matters should be based on the principle of the rule of law instead of political expediency”. The CEC calls on non-governmental organizations to join the public discussion on this issue under the title “The Role of Civil Society in the Electoral Processes.\"
We would like to highlight that we are always ready to discuss issues related to elections with any stakeholders, including the CEC. We think, however, that the discussion should be held about the issues that gave rise to the difference of opinions rather than our role in the electoral processes, the latter needing no further clarification for those organizations that have worked on electoral matters for years.
The main mission of civil society is to monitor the government and promote proper legal thinking. To this end, we have repeatedly voiced criticism as well as support towards decisions made by state agencies, including the CEC. It is disappointing to hear the CEC interpreting the critical assessment expressed by the NGOs as \"political expediency\". Unfortunately, despite repeated criticism, our NGOs have never refrained from supporting the CEC when we shared its positions (including the draft laws on the amendments to the SEC composition and the interim self-government elections). Today, the impartiality of our evaluations is being challenged by the Elections Administration.
The purpose of the statement released by our organizations was to highlight that such an interpretation of the law complied with neither the agreement between the political parties reached in 2009, nor the goals set in the Electoral Code or recommendations made by international organizations. We think that this fact made it clear that necessary changes should be made to the staffing of electoral commissions ahead of the 2013 presidential elections in order to rule out the possibility of one political force acquiring dominant position in the Elections Administration.
The International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy
Transparency International Georgia
The Georgian Young Lawyers\' Association