Statement of ISFED about Appointment of PEC Secretaries for April 27, 2013 By-Elections
We believe that the foregoing guideline conflicts with the essence and the spirit of the law. In particular, in 2009 political parties reached an agreement that the Election Code must directly stipulate an obligation of appointing opposition party proxies as PEC secretaries, also recommended by OSCE monitoring mission. Subsequent amendments were made to the Election Code on December 29, 2009, stipulating that a PEC secretary must be appointed from “party members, except for the party that gained most votes in previous parliamentary elections.”
As a result of the amendment, all but the ruling UNM party could hold positions of PEC secretaries for the 2010 and 2012 elections. This time the CEC has found that the party that gained most votes in “previous parliamentary elections” was the UNM as the coalition Georgian Dream participated in the elections as a bloc and not as a political party. Therefore, candidates nominated only by members of the ruling coalition were able to hold positions of PEC secretaries in all election precincts in Nadzaladevi, Baghdati and Samtredia, whereas the opposition UNM party was not able to appoint a single PEC secretary.
We believe that such interpretation of the law is in conflict with an agreement made between political parties, the aim of the law and recommendations provided by international organizations. Corresponding amendments must be made to the procedure of composition of election commissions prior to the 2013 presidential elections; otherwise, the election administration will be dominated by a single political force.