- New deadlines offered:
- ‘Elections matter of national security’
- ‘Russia wants internal destabilization’
President Saakashvili asked the Parliament on January 11 to extend a deadline for nomination of candidates for Central Election Commission chairmanship.
He said there was no need to take any hasty decisions and added that the opposition also had to be given more time on the matter.
Deadline for nomination of three candidates by the President expired on January 8.
Speaking at a meeting with representatives from the civil society organizations in Batumi on January 11, Saakashvili said that the country’s “major task in the nearest months is to hold free, exemplary elections in Georgia so that nobody doubts about the results of these elections.”
According to the law, the President has to nominate three candidates for CEC chairmanship after consultations with the civil society organizations. Then it is up to the opposition members of CEC to elect one from three candidates nominated by the President. The deadline for CEC members to elect a new chairperson was January 11.
President's spokesperson, Manana Manjgaladze, said later on Monday, that the new deadline for electing the chairperson by CEC opposition members would be January 14 and that the President would nominate three candidates "either tonight or tomorrow". New deadlines have yet to be endorsed by the Parliament.
Speaking at the meeting with civil society representatives, Saakashvili linked holding of free and fair elections with the country’s national security.
“[Free and fair elections] are important for Georgia’s development and for ensuring national security,” he said.
“Because what we see is that Georgia’s enemy, the Georgia’s occupant has very clear and concrete tasks and intentions to stage an imitation of civil confrontation in Georgia – and I stress on the imitation – and then on these grounds to carry out intervention and eventual conquer Georgia.”
“It is beyond any doubt that this is a scenario and I am absolutely sure they will fail to implement this [scenario],” Saakashvili said.
He also said that there was “very little time” for the election of CEC chairman and “this is not correct.” He also said that “it was not correct” when the Parliament set tight deadlines.
“I call on the Georgian Parliament to prolong the term so that opposition groups have an opportunity to make a thorough choice among the nominated candidates. We should aspire as much as possible to reach an agreement and a consensus.”
“We do not need to artificially speed up the process. Two weeks before or two weeks later do not change anything,” he said.
“I ask the opposition groups not to be nervous and do not think that there is some pressure on them. On the contrary, they have time to make a correct and informed decision. Let us together agree on those issues, which were discussed here,” Saakashvili added.