New Package without Position of the Authorities
13 January, 2011

Part of Opposition Comes Forward with Initiative

“Oppositional Eight”, the union of several oppositional political parties that are engaged in the negotiation with the Government to improve electoral environment, demands introduction of a completely new system of electoral dispute examination, based on so called electoral jurors that will be operating within the court niche. In other words, these jurors would decide on every case in unison with judges.

Other opposition parties also backed the idea. These are parties outside of the

so called Opposition-8.
From the beginning, the work group on the improvement of electoral environment decided to work in three stages. The first stage would have to involve a number of presentations on all the problematic issues and hearings of every party vision. The second stage would have to consist of discussions on every issue. Finally, the third stage would have to envisage elaboration of solutions.
It must be noted that the first stage is over by now, while the Authorities keep their silence about their position. Everyone agrees that the issue of electoral disputes is one of the most critical factors to make fair elections possible, and that the current attitudes and approaches need overhaul.
The Opposition-8 proposes to the political specter to set up a so called system of electoral jurors in the highest judicial level, which means equal participation of jurors and judges in decision-making on electoral cases. The Opposition-8 believes that the jurors and judges should make decisions by simple majority to rule out currently rampaging distrust and generate positive stances among political parties and public towards such decisions.
We would like to remind that today everything from election administration to election monitoring and dispute resolution is a competence of electoral administration. This principle has been always a bone of contention on the Georgian political scene. As experts point out, the Central Elections Commission has similar views on the subject. Thus, the position looks like this – the delineation of functions is necessary.
Yet, one more factor remains to be resolved. How the jurors would be selected? On the initiative of the Opposition-8, selection must be done by certain criteria. In other words, jurors are supposed to have passed examination of judges, lawyers or jurists to ensure their relevant qualification. Besides, candidates for juror positions should be named not by political organizations but Central Election Commission and specific NGOs who are actively and intensively engaged in the elections as observers and monitors.
‘Once a complaint is filed to the court of appellations, one judge and four jurors would be elected respectively from the total of 10 judges and 40 jurors. These five would then examine the case and decide on it by simple majority’, – this is a putative model for the new system as seen by most of the experts.
It must be noted that the main phase will start from the end of January of this year when the issue will enter the stage of discussions, i.e. clarification of Governmental position.