Speaker of the Parliament on ISFED and candidates for the post of CEC Chairman
Rejection of “Fair Elections”
Shalva Papuashvili justified the refusal of the ruling team to invite the NGO “Fair Elections” to the working group on the revision of the Electoral Code by saying that the latter had crossed “the line between a non-governmental organization and a political party.”
In particular, according to him, “Fair Elections” is one of those organizations that on June 24, on the second day after the announcement of the decision of the European Council on the status of Georgia as a candidate for EU membership, put forward a week-long ultimatum to the Parliament demanding the dissolution of the government and the announcement of creation of the so-called. technical government, in the process of forming which they would have the right of veto.
“They were unable to complete this ultimatum, based on the fact that the people turned their backs on this radical demand, although this issue is still up in the air and they have not withdrawn this ultimatum,” the Speaker of the Parliament explained. He added that after Fair Elections expressed interest in participating in the working group, they were asked if they still supported the said demand.
“Unfortunately, we have not heard any position from ISFED, they refuse to move away from this issue. Therefore, they were not invited to the working group,” Shalva Papuashvili emphasized, adding that “if they no longer share this position and remove this requirement, of course, they can fully participate in the working groups. Otherwise, cooperation within the working groups will not be possible.”
He also reacted to the refusal of a number of non-governmental organizations to participate in the process before the inclusion of “Fair Elections” in the working group and stressed that this is an expression of “unhealthy solidarity” towards his colleagues.
“The border between solidarity and corporatism is very narrow and, unfortunately, this border has been crossed at such a time and instead of healthy solidarity, we see pure corporatism,” Shalva Papuashvili said.
The Chairman of the Parliament also recalled the flaw found in the parallel vote count of the “Fair Elections” after the parliamentary elections of 2020, saying that non-governmental organizations already then showed such corporatism and “false solidarity”.
“We also turned to non-governmental organizations then to help us see the results of a parallel count, including talking to ISFED, and then all the elite organizations distanced themselves from this topic. They said parallel counting was not their profile and they didn’t want to criticize their colleague’s organization,” he said.
To the question of a journalist – is not the decision of the ruling team a kind of political revenge on the Fair Elections for this “flaw”? – Shalva Papuashvili replied that it was after these elections, when “the traumas received by the society from disinformation spread by ISFED, have not yet subsided,” she participated in the working group created to carry out the electoral reform. “(Accordingly) what kind of revenge are we talking about?” he added.
According to the Speaker of the Parliament, it is necessary to “timely assess” the ultimatums and the “radical agenda” that a number of non-governmental organizations have, “because if we do not have our own position on this matter, this will only encourage a radical agenda, which means encouragement of polarization”. “Especially in light of the fact that several radical parties say they are planning radical actions in the fall,” added Shalva Papuashvili.
When asked by a journalist whether he spoke with partners after the criticism that was voiced due to the refusal of the Fair Elections, the Chairman of the Parliament noted that they were generally aware of the matter of the format of cooperation.
The head of the Parliament also responded to claims about the low involvement of non-governmental organizations in the process and stated that at least 2 non-governmental organizations are represented in all working groups, “which, in turn, represent about 200 non-governmental organizations.”
“We have cooperation with the Civil Platform of the Eastern European Partnership, which unites almost all non-governmental organizations. We have an agreement with them that in order for the working group to have a working environment, they named us 2 organizations (for each group), which, in turn, will become a bridge between the working group and about 200 non-governmental organizations,” he said.
The Chairman of the Parliament also added that there is also the possibility of rotation of non-governmental organizations in the working groups, “therefore, not only wide involvement is ensured, but almost 200 organizations are directly or indirectly involved (in the process).
Does the president encourage the opposition’s “radical agenda”?
Speaking about the President’s nomination of candidates for the post of CEC Chairman, the Chairman of the Parliament stressed that it was “sad” that Salome Zurabishvili did not nominate the incumbent Chairman Giorgi Kalandarishvili without “objective” justification. “In my opinion, this is encouraging the opposition’s radical agenda,” he said.
According to him, the requirement of a qualified majority for the election of the chairman of the CEC for a period of 5 years “encourages the radical agenda of the opposition.”
He also noted that the president’s decision “generally discredits qualified, honest and professional public servants. “Therefore, I am very sorry that a qualified candidate (meaning Giorgi Kalandarishvili) was not presented.”