07TBILISI1781, CEC CHAIR GIVES AMBASSADOR ELECTION UPDATE

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07TBILISI1781 2007-07-25 13:06 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO2089
PP RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #1781/01 2061306
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 251306Z JUL 07
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7119
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 001781 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPARTMENT FOR EUR/CARC AND DRL 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/22/2017 
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PREL GG
SUBJECT: CEC CHAIR GIVES AMBASSADOR ELECTION UPDATE 
 
REF: TBILISI 1477 
 
Classified By: Ambassador John F. Tefft for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). 
 
1. (C) Summary: In a follow-up to the June 18 OSCE 
Ambassadors Group on Elections (reftel), Ambassador met with 
Central Election Commission (CEC) Chairman Guram 
Chalagashvili on July 18.  Chalagashvili said the CEC is 
close to completing work on the voters' list and inaccuracies 
are now down to "one percent."  He said a door-to-door 
campaign to verify the list will take place in October when 
27,000 election workers will conduct the checks over 25 days. 
 Ambassador commended Chalagashvili on including the 
opposition in preparing and checking the lists. 
Additionally, the CEC is also making progress on minority 
involvement in elections.  Chalagashvili said a hotline will 
be operating in Armenian, Azeri, and Russian ahead of the 
elections.  Chalagashvili said the CEC is emphasizing 
expanding training for election officials, adding that the 
CEC is "focusing on the regions."  He said that a training 
plan is nearly complete.  He stressed that he welcomes 
regular progress updates with Ambassador and will continue to 
work closely with the OSCE Ambassadors Group on Elections 
(AWG).  End Summary. 
 
----------------- 
Checking it Twice 
----------------- 
 
2. (C) Chalagashvili began the July 18 meeting with 
Ambassador offering an update on the AWG goals.  He said the 
voter's lists were "our number one problem, and it is almost 
solved.  The difference is now less than one percent."  He 
said that door-to-door checks will take place in October and 
the final list will be delivered 20 days before the 2008 
Presidential election.  Chalagashvili stated that the CEC is 
working with a known company on a 5-year plan and strategy 
regarding the lists.  They have completed the first phase (of 
18 months), and will issue the lists in Georgian and English 
in 20 days.  A copy will be made available to Ambassador. 
The CEC will also launch its new website in two weeks.  The 
CEC is making working groups with a commissioner for each 
group, in order to support third party involvement 
(international observers, organizers, technical advisers, 
etc.)  The CEC is involving the opposition in the 
door-to-door checks and certification of the lists.  Labor 
and The Industrialists will each have 2 representatives, and 
3 more opposition representatives will be chosen "by the 
competition."  Poloff reiterated that involvement of the 
opposition in checking the lists is extremely positive and 
bears public awareness.  Chalagashvili advised NGO's are also 
invited to participate in the process and a presentation for 
the lists with all parties and NGO's is planned.  He said "We 
want all to participate to ensure fair elections and 
acceptance by all parties." 
 
--------------- 
Minority Report 
--------------- 
 
3. (C)  Chalagashvili said the issue of national minorities 
will again be addressed.  He stressed that the list in 2006 
was the best possible.  Improving the list for minorities  in 
2008 is a priority for the CEC, as is everyone being able to 
vote in their own language.  He said each CEC member will 
work with their own district, and they will have  a hotline 
operating in Azeri, Armenian and Russian for the voters. 
Ambassador emphasized that increasing minority participation 
in 2008 is a core tenet of the AWG.  Chalagashvili is also 
trying to coordinate a public awareness campaign for 
minorities.  He asked if the Embassy could assist with the 
awareness campaign and assistance in training election 
workers.  (Comment: USAID is working on both of these 
issues.) 
 
------------ 
Training Day 
------------ 
 
4. (C) Ambassador asked about the size and training of the 
CEC staff, and how many temporary election workers they have 
(current and future).  Chalagashvili said the CEC has 65 
full-time employees, and 5 full-timers in each district. 
They will temporarily hire 40 additional employees and 5 for 
each district during the election.  9 paid persons for each 
precinct will also be hired for 25 days in order to conduct 
the door-to-door checks.  This will result in 27,000 paid 
election workers.  Opposition members will be included among 
the paid workers.  Talks are also underway with the 
government for a larger building, to accommodate more 
observers and training.  A training plan is complete, but not 
 
TBILISI 00001781  002 OF 002 
 
 
yet signed due to financial issues.  Chalagashvili hopes to 
solve the problem with the CEC's own funding.  Ambassador 
advised Chalagashvili that his recent conversation with 
Council of Europe Representative Igor Gaon was positive 
regarding Georgia's electoral progress.  He also emphasized 
the need to continue the constant struggle against 
corruption. 
 
TEFFT

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