Most recent CEC resolution does not comply with Georgian legislation
The resolution passed by the Central Election Commission (CEC) on 19 August concerning the procedures of registration of parties as election entities contains significant flaws while some provisions do not comply with the Georgian legislation. According to the resolution:
- If registered parties which do not indicate in the Registry of Citizens' Political Associations (Parties) their authorized leaders or representatives for the purposes of the elections scheduled for 8 October 2016, the leadership defined by these parties' charters will be considered their authorised leaders/representatives.
Problem: This means that, [even] if, according to a political party's charter, its representative's term ended and was not renewed in accordance with the Georgian legislation (the changes were not registered with the Public Registry), he or she will not have a problem during the registration of the election entity with the CEC. In such a case, for example, had the Centrists Party not requested – and were denied – the registration of changes by the Public Registry but rather had applied to the CEC directly, their registration would not have been annulled.
- Article 1 [of the CEC resolution] does not apply to the cases when the National Agency of Public Registry, as a result of carrying out the registration procedures, rejected or will reject prior to 8 September 2016 the registration of changes in the Registry of Citizens' Political Associations (Parties) and identification of the authorized leaders indicated in the charter as authorized leaders/representatives of the party.
Problem: In this case, the Public Registry's Registry of Political Associations loses its function; this creates a risk that parties will stop renewing the registration of their representatives. Correspondingly, the CEC resolution allows political parties to evade legal requirements. At the same time, it is also a problem that the state and the public will not have accurate information about party members and representatives, which they can find on the Public Registry's website. Limiting the availability of information about party representatives, in turn, limits the voters' ability to make an informed choice.
It is our opinion that this resolution contradicts the current Georgian legislation because:
- According to Article 113 of the Election Code, in order to have the right to participate in the Georgian parliamentary elections, a party is to submit to the CEC chairperson an appropriate application signed by its leader(s);
- The obligation to verify the information about party leadership lies with the CEC because it is the only authorized body in this case. This information can only be verified by means of a certified extract from the National Agency of Public Registry as, according to the Civil Code, the presumption of veracity and completeness exists only with regard to the National Agency of Public Registry;
- On 20 June, a special paragraph was added to the Law of Georgia on Citizens' Political Associations according to which a change to the information concerning a party leader becomes valid only after it is registered by the Public Registry;
- It is also noteworthy that, at the 18 August hearing of the case of the International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy versus the Centrists Political Association, Tbilisi Court of Appeals did not accept as a party representative the person indicated as the party leader in its charter precisely because this person was not indicated as an authorized representative/leader in the extract from the National Agency of Public Registry.
It should also be noted that, according to the CEC, in addition to the Centrists Political Association, nine other parties were registered as election entities even though there was no information about their leaders on the official website of the Public Registry. The resolution adopted by the CEC could affect the annulment of the registration of these nine parties. Should the registration of these parties be left standing, there is a risk that they will remain registered despite the fact that they do not meet the requirements of the law.
We therefore call on the CEC to bring the aforementioned resolution into compliance with the legislation and to discuss the registration of the nine parties which also do not have their authorized leaders/representatives registered with the Public Registry and, in the event of identifying violations, carry out the sanctions established by the law.