Live Blog: Election Violations and Responses - საერთაშორისო გამჭვირვალობა - საქართველო
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Live Blog: Election Violations and Responses

22 October, 2021

Last Update: 22.10.2021

October 13

  • 14 MPs from the parliamentary majority addressed the Parliament with a legislative initiative, which envisages a ban on outdoor and TV advertisements that promote a “negative disposition” towards a political subject.

The aforementioned legislative initiative was preceded by a legislative proposal submitted to Parliament by outdoor advertisement company Ltd. Alma. The proposal envisaged legislative amendments that would restrict the display of hate speech in outdoor advertisements. This restriction would give advertisement companies the legal right to deny service to clients seeking outdoor advertising.

Ltd. Alma submitted the legislative proposal to the Parliament after September 17, when the company displayed anti-opposition political billboards in Tbilisi and other cities and, despite a signed contract with European Georgia, refused to put up political billboards against Bidzina Ivanishvili.

The proposed amendments restrict the freedom of political expression guaranteed by the Constitution of Georgia, disproportionately interfere in the work of the media and impose responsibility on the media for the content of ads. It is alarming that the amendments bring in a new concept of so-called “negative disposition”, which is vague and contains ambiguous formulation, and poses risks of unconstitutional interference in freedom of expression, as well as being interpreted for political means.

4 - 18 October

  • On October 18, the Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development, Natia Turnava, announced that the government would transfer ownership of agricultural land to 198 IDPs at a symbolic price.
  • On October 17, the Prime Minister of Georgia, Irakli Gharibashvili, announced that the monthly supplement for veterans - 22 GEL - would be revised and increased fivefold starting from January 2022.
  • On October 12, the Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development, Natia Turnava, announced that starting from March 21, 2020 to March 21, 2021, certain entities, natural persons and legal entities would be excused from rent and lease payments, as well as from any fines related to failed or late payments, sanctions or penalties.
  • On October 6, Tbilisi Mayor Kakha Kaladze announced that in 2021-2022, leaseholders of municipality and municipal enterprises would be exempted from rent payments and that their lease duration would be directly extended for a period of two years. A similar promise was made by the Deputy Mayor of Tbilisi, Irakli Khmaladze, on September 22. According to Khmaladze, up to 700 leaseholders of the Tbilisi Municipality will be fully exempted from the rent of up to 11 million GEL that is to be paid in 2021-2022. Up to 160 open cafe owners will be exempted from the 800,000 GEL rent tax payable to the Tbilisi Municipality by the end of 2022.
  • At a meeting of the Tbilisi government on October 6, Tbilisi Mayor Kakha Kaladze announced that the municipal government has come to a decision to provide housing at a symbolic price to 66 families, which have been facing the problem of legalization of their property for years.
  • Through a Government decree issued on October 4, a total of 294 real estate properties were transferred to the ownership of 258 IDP families based in Tbilisi, Shida Kartli, Kvemo Kartli, Mtskheta-Mtianeti, Imereti and Samegrelo.

It is very important for a healthy and competitive electoral environment to refrain from initiating such new state programs shortly before the elections, as this would give the ruling candidate / party a serious advantage at the expense of taxpayers. Consequently, these decisions can be assessed as electorally-motivated public spending

ELECTIONS DAY

Through this live blog, Transparency International Georgia will cover all things relevant around the October 2, 2021, local self-government elections. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter
 

- At Electoral Precinct #5 of Ninotsminda’s #17 Electoral District Commission, a voter cast their vote several times. We filed a complaint.

- At Electoral Precinct #54 of Telavi’s #17 District Electoral Commission, a representative of the Georgian Dream - For Democratic Georgia, Eliar Khalilov, followed voters into the voting booth on several occasions on the grounds that they were visually impaired. We filed a complaint.

 - At Electoral Precinct #50 of Akhalkalaki’s #40 District Electoral Commission, the members of the commission were drinking alcohol outside the precinct and were intoxicated. Our observer made a remark to the commission members. Due to this, our observer was kicked out of the yard and verbally insulted. Our observer called the police after this incident.

- At Electoral Precinct #37 of Kharagauli’s #48 District Electoral Commission, a voter was allowed to cast their vote by the registrant despite that their ID didn’t match the one in the list.

15:59 - At Electoral Precinct #74 of Batumi’s #79 District Electoral Commission, a voter cast their vote without going through the inking procedure.

15:41 -  At Electoral Precinct #14 of Akhaltsikhe’s #37 District Electoral Commission, the Chairperson of the Sakrebulo Faction Georgian Dream - Industrialists, Giorgi Beroshvili, was registered as an observer from “Public Union - Georgia First” organization (total number of observers - 2338), which is a violation of law, as a member of Sakrebulo doesn’t have the right to be an observer from an observing organization.

15:34 - At Electoral Precinct #15 of Zugdidi’s #67 District Electoral Commission, a commission member did not allow our observer to cross-check an ID card with the voters list. We filed a complaint.

14:54 - At Electoral Precinct #10 of Gldani’s #10 District Electoral Commission, their ballots in the mobile ballot box did not have a signature from the registrant. Therefore, three ballots were annulled. We filed a complaint.

14:00 - Transparency International Georgia’s Statement on Current Electoral Processes (07:00-14:00)

13:15 - At Electoral Precinct #67 of Khobi’s #27 District Electoral Commission, the registrant was replaced with a representative from the Georgian Dream. This wasn’t reflected in the journal and the new registrant signed instead of the initial registrant. We filed a complaint.

12:03 - At Electoral Precinct #7 of Marneuli’s #22 District Electoral Commission, there was canvassing within a 10-meter radius from the precinct and the canvasser was not leaving the territory. We notified the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

11:03 - At Electoral Precinct #7 of Marneuli’s #22 District Electoral Commission, the Chairperson of the Commission is not allowing our observer to take videos. We filed a complaint.

10:50 - At Electoral Precinct #5 of Ninotsminda’s #41 District Electoral Commission, observers are mobilized in the corridor. We notified the Ministry of Interior. 

10:11 - At Electoral Precinct #27 of Akhaltsikhe’s #37 District Electoral Commission, voters were mobilized within a 100-meter radius. We notified the police to resolve this.

10:02 - At Electoral Precinct #41 of Kutaisi’s #59 District Electoral Commission, a citizen was walking inside the precinct without a badge. After our observer pointed this out, the Chairperson had the citizen leave the precinct. We filed a complaint.

09:52 - At Electoral Precinct #13 of Marneuli’s #22 District Electoral Commission, a voter cast their ballot in the morning, then at 09:52 the same voter came to the precinct and cast another vote, and then came back a third time when our observer started videotaping. Another observer approached the voter and snatched the ballot out of his hands (this is seen on the video). The voter was unable to cast a vote the third time and left the precinct. We filed a complaint.

09:42 - At Electoral Precinct #63 of Akhalkalaki’s #40 District Electoral Commission, voters were mobilized within a 100-meter radius. We notified the police to resolve this.

09:36 - At Electoral Precinct #6 of Telavi’s #17 District Electoral Commission, an observer was following a voter into the voting booth. Our observer protested this and tried to take a photo, which the commission members didn’t allow and threatened to expel our observer from the precinct. The observer passed a mobile phone to the voter once he couldn’t follow the voter into the voting booth. We filed a complaint.

09:36 - At Electoral Precinct #6 of Dmanisi’s #17 District Electoral Commission, a number of persons were standing within a 100-meter radius of the precinct, who were aggressive towards our observer and demanded the mobile phone be handed to them after they were photographed. They left the territory once the police were called.

09:36 - At Electoral Precinct #43 of Dmanisi’s #24 District Electoral Commission, a voter filled in their ballot outside of the voting booth. The commission did not instruct the voter to enter the voting booth. In another episode, a commission member was talking to a voter who was in the voting booth. We filed complaints for both cases.

09:28 - At Electoral Precinct #33 of Poti’s #70 District Electoral Commission, a representative from the observing organization “Green Earth” entered the voting booth with a voter. We filed a complaint against the Chairperson and observer.

08:13 - At Electoral Precinct #24 of Dmanisi’s #43 Electoral District Commission, one of the voters who came to the precinct at 8 a.m. was not found in the voters list. The registrant had the voter sign for another person on the voters' list. Due to a fast response by an observer, the voter was not allowed to vote.

08:00 - Polling stations have opened across the country.

07:50 - At Electoral Precinct #27 of Zugdidi’s #67 Electoral District Commission, our observer became suspicious about the identity of one voter and requested for it to be verified through an ID check. This demand annoyed the voter and he left the precinct.

Our Pre-Election reports:

The pre-election period of October 2, 2021, local self-government elections started on August 3. Transparency International Georgia will provide live updates on alleged violations and problematic issues starting from June 1:

September 30

  • On September 30, the Zugdidi branch of the United National Movement released a video showing a person with up to twenty identity documents. According to the party representatives, the footage was taken in the village of Rike and the people depicted in it are representatives of the Georgian Dream, who are depriving the supporters of the same party of their identity cards on behalf of the United National Movement.

The described case contains signs of a criminal offense, therefore it is necessary to conduct an objective and thorough investigation in order to identify and prevent all possible cases of influence on the will of the voters.

September 28

  • On September 28, Levan Tsulaia, the head of the Destination Management Organization, resigned. According to him, the decision was made due to the pressure exerted on him, as a result of which the activities of the organization were hampered. The reason for the pressure was that his brother is a supporter of the party "For Georgia". According to Tsulaia, he received a message from a high-ranking official of the central government to resign. After he did not resign, interference in the activities of the organization began, with the participation of the State Representative, Giorgi Guguchia, and the Acting Mayor of Zugdidi, Konstantine Kakava. Tsulaia also considers the fact that the state and City Hall audits are in the organization at the same time as part of the pressure.

Threats on political grounds, as well as forcing a person to write a statement of dismissal on their own initiative, are a criminal offense, it is necessary to conduct an objective and thorough investigation to rule out all possible cases of persecution of politically active citizens.

September 25

  • On September 25, a mayoral candidate in Tsageri, Beso Bendeliani had found out in the morning that gunshots were fired at his empty car parked outside his house. Besarion Bendeliani links the incident to the self-government elections and an attempt to intimidate him. The Interior Ministry has launched an investigation into the case under Article 187 of the Criminal Code of Georgia, involving damage or destruction of one’s property.

It is important that, under a thorough and objective investigation, the circumstances of the case are established and all those responsible are identified quickly.

  • On September 25, the staff of the City Hall Property Management Agency and the Isani district administration handed over ownership documents to 39 families living in the Isani district. According to City Hall, these people have been suffering from the problem of legalization of housing for years. Their living spaces will be given at a symbolic price, GEL 1.

It is very important for a healthy and competitive electoral environment to refrain from initiating such new state programs shortly before the elections, as this would give the ruling candidate / party a serious advantage at the expense of taxpayers. Consequently, these decisions can be assessed as electorally motivated public spending.

September 21

  • On September 21, Giorgi Tatuashvili, the United National Movement (UNM) mayoral candidate and incumbent mayor of Dmanisi, was holding a pre-election rally in the village of Gantiadi, Dmanisi Municipality, according to him, the participants of the rally were attacked by members of the local headquarters of the Georgian Dream. Two opposition activists were stabbed during the confrontation. Police have arrested Davit Dautashvili, the son of one of the majoritarian candidates of the Georgian Dream for stabbing. The fact of intentional serious damage to health and gang violence is being investigated under Article 117 of the Criminal Code of Georgia and Article 126, Part 1, Subparagraph B of the Criminal Code of Georgia, which envisages imprisonment for a term of 3 to 6 years.

It is important that in the conditions of a thorough and objective investigation, the circumstances of the case are established and all those responsible are identified quickly.

September 20

  • On September 20, Ivane Gvelesiani, a supporter of the United National Movement, was physically assaulted in Rustavi, suffering a broken nose and a concussion. Gvelesiani said that before the incident, he was asked to stop his political activity (he did not disclose who asked for it), and in the opposite case, he was threatened with physical retribution. The Ministry of Internal Affairs has launched an investigation under Article 126 of the Criminal Code, beating.

It is important that in the conditions of a thorough and objective investigation, the circumstances of the case are established and all those responsible are identified quickly.

September 17

  • On September 17, Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili handed over new apartments to 420 IDP families in Tskaltubo.

It is very important for a healthy and competitive electoral environment to refrain from initiating such new state programs shortly before the elections, as this would give the ruling candidate / party a serious advantage at the expense of taxpayers. Consequently, these decisions can be assessed as electorally motivated public spending.

September 14

  • On September 14, the Zugdidi Youth Organization of the Georgian Dream posted a video on its Facebook page showing people dressed in Georgian Dream party symbolic T-shirts delivering food and services to beneficiaries at the Zugdidi Free Municipal Canteen.

The distribution of material values with the symbolic T-shirt of the party may constitute voter bribery, which is prohibited by the Election Code and is also a criminal offense.

September 11

  • On September 11, Revaz Gvilia, a resident of the village of Kulishkari in Zugdidi Municipality, publicly stated that he had met with Merab Kvaraia, a former member of parliament, and Mamuka Tsotseria, a Georgian Dream mayoral candidate in Zugdidi at the headquarters of "Georgian Dream" who forced him to stop supporting the United National Movement, an opposition party.

Threatening / coercion on political grounds is a criminal offense. It is necessary to conduct an objective and thorough investigation to rule out all possible facts of persecution of politically active citizens.

September 10

  • On September 10, Akaki Bezhanidze No. 10 on the party list of the Keda Municipality City Council of the party For Georgia stated at the briefing that he had been contacted by a stranger from a hidden number, who asked him to withdraw his candidacy or face death. At the same briefing, Dali Takidze, No. 6 on the Shuakhevi Municipality City Council party list, said that she had been contacted by a representative of the current Shuakhevi mayor, Pridon Putkaradze, who is also his relative, and that he had asked Takidze to withdraw her candidacy. According to Takidze, after receiving the refusal, her husband was threatened (they threatened to burn the car). Although Takidze confirmed the above-mentioned circumstances in a conversation with Transparency International Georgia, according to a statement issued by the MIA representative at the September 15 meeting of the Interagency Commission, Takidze did not disclose the identity of Putkaradze's representative and other details.

Threatening/coercion on political grounds is a criminal offense. It is necessary to conduct an objective and thorough investigation to rule out all possible facts of persecution of politically active citizens.

  • On September 10, in the village of Jvari in Tsalenjikha Municipality, activists of the party For Georgia restored the volleyball court and the surrounding public recreation area. They spread information about it through Facebook.

Providing the services described by the representatives of the electoral subject may constitute voter bribery, which is a criminal offense.

September 9

  • On September 9, several people held a charity event in the village of Jvari in Tsalenjikha Municipality and distributed food to the elderly. As can be seen in the photos, during the process of distributing the products, one of them wore a T-shirt with the symbols of the "Georgian Dream" party.

The distribution of material values with the symbolic T-shirt of the party may constitute voter bribery, which is prohibited by the Election Code and is also a criminal offense.

September 8

  • On September 8, Tbilisi Mayor Kakha Kaladze handed over ownership certificates to another 55 families. Housing was legalized for families living in Samgori district at a symbolic price of GEL 1.

It is very important for a healthy and competitive electoral environment to refrain from initiating such new state programs shortly before the elections, as this would give the ruling candidate / party a serious advantage at the expense of taxpayers. Consequently, these decisions can be assessed as electorally motivated public spending.

September 7

The political party “For Georgia” has repeatedly informed the observer organizations and the Public Defender of Georgia about the alleged facts of various pressures on the party's supporters. Transparency International Georgia is studying these cases. The following facts and circumstances were revealed at this stage:

  • In the second half of September, the four-year term of office of the Director of the Gori National Theater Givi Tsverava, expires, the artistic director of the theater has nominated a candidate for the position of the acting director to the Ministry of Culture (The director is appointed by the Minister of Culture upon the recommendation of the theater). On September 3, the Gori Theater received a letter from the Deputy Minister of Culture, Ioseb Baghaturia, recommending theater's artistic director not nominate Givi Tsverava for the position of theater director due to the lack of administrative-organizational and financial development of the theater. Tsverava links this decision to his participation in the Gori City Council elections. He is on the party list for the party "For Georgia".
  • On August 23, Badri Mamulia, Director of the N(N)LE Monitoring Department of the Public Service Center in Senaki Municipality, unilaterally terminated the employment contract of his employee Bakar Sitchinava. According to Sitchinava, before his release, Mamulia asked him to write a letter of resignation, because he is the brother of Berdia Sitchinava, the executive secretary of the party "For Georgia". A reduction in the workforce is indicated as the legal basis for dismissal.

  • On August 23 Director of the N(N)LE Zugdidi Youth Palace terminated the employment contract with the employee Kesaria Tsulaia. According to Tsulaia, before her release, the head of the N(N)LE asked her to stop her activities in support of the party "For Georgia" on Facebook. It should be noted that the employees of N(N)LE are prohibited from agitating on social networks during working hours, but the order indicates the inability to perform functions due to a pandemic as a reason for terminating the contract. Tsulaia names her assistance to the For Georgia's Zugdidi office as the real reason for her dismissal. The case is being studied by the Public Defender.
  • On August 17, Teimuraz Gvritishvili, a specialist in the Pshav-Khevsureti National Park Agency of the LEPL Agency for Protected Areas, was fired by the Acting Chairman of the same agency, Davit Iosebashvili, on the basis of a report card from the Inspection Service. According to Gvritishvili, before his release, the director warned him several times that he should stop supporting Gakharia and his teammate Kote Ananiashvili on Facebook.
  • On May 25, Gia Abuladze, an employee of the Batumi City Council, was fired after he shared a post in support of Giorgi Gakharia on Facebook. According to Abuladze, the chairman of the City Council first asked him to delete the shared post, but after receiving the refusal, he dismissed Abuladze with an unjustified order. Abuladze appealed the release order in court. Transparency International Georgia is defending Gia Abuladze's rights in court
  • On May 19, Vanger Mkheidze, the acting director of the Poti Municipality Land Reclamation N(N)LE, dismissed Khvicha Dolbaia, the chief specialist of the same organization, by an unjustified order. According to Dolbaia, the reason for his dismissal was his relationship with the former deputy mayor of Poti, Konstantine Topuria (who was also fired), who is a teammate of Giorgi Gakharia. Dolbaia has been appealed in court.
  • On May 13, Giorgi Mezvrishvili, Director of N(N)LE Aragvi Protected Landscape Administration in Dusheti Municipality, was dismissed by the Mayor of Dusheti, Zurab Sekhniashvili. According to Mezvrishvili, before his dismissal, the mayor asked him to write a statement of resignation, because his recommender, Shalva Kereselidze (Member of Parliament) was no longer a member of the team and therefore he had to resign. Mezvrishvili was fired by the mayor's order after refusing to write a statement. Mezvrishvili appealed the release order in court.
  • On May 13, the mayor of Dusheti, Zurab Sekhniashvili, fired Tornike Tatarashvili, the mayor's representative in the Kvesheti administrative unit, without justification. According to Tatarashvili, the reason for his dismissal was his support for Giorgi Gakharia on Facebook.
  • From May 11 to August 3, a total of 7 cases were registered in Batumi, Tbilisi, Senaki, Poti, and Gori, when employees of various public agencies, including the Ministry of Internal Affairs, wrote resignation letters. According to them, they wrote the letter because of the pressure on them, the reason for which was their support for Giorgi Gakharia, or various (relative, friendly) ties with Gakharia's teammates.

The dismissal of a public servant on political grounds is prohibited and, if the facts are confirmed, it may be considered an abuse/misuse of official authority, which is a crime under Article 332 of the Criminal Code. Also, forcing a person to write a statement of dismissal on his / her own initiative is a crime under Article 169 of the Criminal Code.

September 2 

  • On September 2, according to Vladimer Chavleishvili, a member of the Ozurgeti City Council from the Georgian Dream party, and Roman Vanadze, an assistant to the mayor's representative in the Mtispiri administrative unit, the mayor of Ozurgeti, Konstantine Sharashenidze, threatened and physically confronted them. Sharashenidze is an independent mayoral candidate in the self-government elections.9. According to Chavleishvili and Vanadze, Sharashenidze asked them to support the elections. The Ozurgeti Division of the Ministry of Internal Affairs has launched an investigation into the incident.

It is necessary to study the above-mentioned information and establish the circumstances of the case in the conditions of a thorough and objective investigation.

September 1 

According to the Public Defender of Georgia, dozens of people have recently been fired for possible discriminatory, politically motivated views. Most of the people confirmed the facts of pressure and dismissal with the representatives of the Public Defender and cited the connection with the party or members of the party of the former Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia as the reason.

The dismissal of a civil servant on political grounds is prohibited and, if the fact is proved, it may be considered an abuse/misuse of official authority, which is a crime under Article 332 of the Criminal Code. Transparency International Georgia is also investigating the possible dismissal of civil servants on political grounds; verified cases will be periodically updated.

    June 1 - August 31

    • Senaki mayoral candidate Vakhtang Gadelia shared on his Facebook page that on August 18, 2021, together with the Senaki Municipal Council candidates Saba Odisharia and Levan Uchaneishvili visited the Public Health Center and met with epidemiologists.

    According to Article 48, part 4, paragraph "d" of the Election Code, organizing election campaign-related gatherings of employees of budgetary organizations is prohibited and envisages a fine in the amount of GEL 2,000. Transparency International Georgia lodged a complaint with the District Election Commission.

    • On August 31, Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili announced that a family of 500 servicemen will be provided with housing.
    • On August 30, Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili announced that up to 300 IDP families would be given the space at their disposal at a symbolic price.

    It is very important for a healthy and competitive electoral environment to refrain from initiating such new state programs shortly before the elections, as this would give the ruling candidate / party a serious advantage at the expense of taxpayers. Consequently, these decisions can be assessed as electorally-motivated public spending.

    • On August 27, Natia Turnava, the Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development, said that up to 100 families living near the Coast Guard base in Poti would be provided with safe housing in the shortest possible time, in accordance with the Prime Minister's instructions.

    People living in this district of Poti have been asking for alternative housing for years due to difficult conditions, the purpose of making this decision in the pre-election period is to win the hearts of voters at the expense of budget funds. It is very important for a healthy and competitive electoral environment not to initiate such new state programs shortly before the elections, as this would give the ruling candidate / party a serious advantage at the expense of taxpayers.

    • On August 26, Imedi TV refused to air a pre-election political advertisement for the European Georgia party on the grounds that the video was using hate speech.

    Transparency International Georgia could not detect hate speech in the advertisement and the TV station had no right to refuse to place it.

    • On August 25, Levan Tatoshvili, the Samtskhe-Javakheti coordinator of the party For Georgia, held a briefing in which he said that Besik Amiranashvili, the state representative in the Samtskhe-Javakheti region, had asked his mother and aunt (both  are public servants) to resign. On the same day, Levan Tatoshvili's mother and aunt were dismissed. The dismissal order does not contain any justification for the grounds for release.

    The dismissal of a public servant on political grounds is prohibited and, if the facts are confirmed, it may be considered an abuse/misuse of official authority, which is a crime under Article 332 of the Criminal Code.

    • On August 17-18, Zviad Mkheidze, the Georgian Dream mayoral candidate, met with representatives of the cleaning, landscaping and water supply sector in the municipality as part of his pre-election campaign, and the next day with representatives of the culture, arts and tourism sectors in the municipality.

    According to Article 48, part 4, paragraph "d" of the Election Code, organizing election campaign-related gatherings of employees of budgetary organizations is prohibited and envisages a fine in the amount of GEL 2,000. Transparency International Georgia lodged a complaint with the District Election Commission, which did not find a violation. Transparency International Georgia will continue the dispute in court.

    • On August 22, Mtavari Channel aired a report, according to which a source told the TV that representative of the Samtskhe-Javakheti region, the regional heads of the State Security Service (SSS) and the Investigation Service of the Ministry of Finance had instructed local businessmen to make financial donations in favor of the ruling party. The verification revealed that between August 2-16, 87 individuals and 5 legal entities from Samtskhe-Javakheti donated a total of GEL 714,000 to the ruling party.

    This amount of donations from one geographical area in such a short period of time is quite unusual and may be a result of the pressure on donors or third-party donations, which is both a serious criminal offense and a violation of party funding legislation. For more details on this case, see the statement of Transparency International Georgia.

    • On August 17, Teimuraz Gvritishvili was released from the Pshav-Khevsureti National Park Administration of the Agency for Protected Areas. According to him, the reason for his dismissal was the support of Kote Ananiashvili, a member of the party For Georgia, on Facebook. Before his dismissal, Gvritishvili was repeatedly notified about the concerns by various persons, including the acting chairman of the agency, Davit Iosebashvili.

    The dismissal of a civil servant on political grounds is prohibited and, if the fact is proved, it may be considered an abuse/misuse of official authority, which is a crime under Article 332 of the Criminal Code.

    • On August 16, the Georgian Dream Ozurgeti mayoral candidate Avtandil Talakvadze held a meeting with representatives of the medical sector.

    According to Article 48, part 4, paragraph "d" of the Election Code, organizing election campaign-related gatherings of employees of budgetary organizations is prohibited. A Georgian Dream spokesman later said that Talakvadze had met with representatives of private medical institutions, which were not subject to the restrictions of the above-mentioned norm, although he himself confirmed that several representatives of public medical institutions were also present at the meeting. Transparency International-Georgia lodged a complaint with the District Election Commission. The head of the Georgian Dream local branch denied what his colleague said at a party briefing, saying that the meeting was held only with representatives of private medical institutions. The District Election Commission did not take proper measures to establish the facts, relied directly on the information provided by the party and dismissed the complaint on this ground. Transparency International Georgia will continue the dispute in court.

    • On August 11, Tbilisi Mayor and Georgian Dream mayoral candidate Kakha Kaladze handed out property certificates to 36 families. Housing was legalized for families living in Gldani district at a symbolic price of one GEL.
       
    • On July 26, Levan Davitashvili, the Minister of Environment Protection and Agriculture, announced that the applications for the state co-financing program for agricultural machinery would start on September 1.
       
    • On July 26, the parliament approved the amendments to the state budget, according to which the funding for the autumn vintage was increased from GEL 38 million to GEL 138 million.

    It is very important for a healthy and competitive electoral environment to refrain from  initiating such new state programs shortly before the elections, as this would give the ruling candidate / party a serious advantage at the expense of taxpayers. Consequently, these decisions can be assessed as election-motivated public spending.

    • On July 20, Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili shared a video on his Facebook page in support of the Georgian Dream's Tbilisi mayoral candidate, Kakha Kaladze.  According to Facebook, Gharibashvili’s post was sponsored by the Government of Georgia.

    This action represents misspending of state budget funds in favor of a specific party. An act may be considered an abuse/misuse of official authority, which is a crime under the Criminal Code.

    • On June 25, the Prime Minister announced the launch of a new program to co-finance mortgage loans for families with newly-born children to support the purchase of housing.
       
    • On June 24, the Prime Minister announced an initiative, according to which,  individuals and legal entities will be written off the unpaid fines of about GEL 76 million imposed for violation of the COVID-19-related rules of isolation, quarantine and face mask wearing.
       
    • On June 23, Batumi Municipality handed over apartments to 15 large families.
       
    • On June 16, in Kutaisi and Zugdidi, the Minister of Health Ekaterine Tikaradze, the State Representative in Imereti Zviad Shalamberidze, the majoritarian MP Zaza Lominadze and members of the local government handed over the housing to 60 families of IDP veterans in the newly built buildings. In addition, about 100 families of IDP veterans have received an administrative promise that they will unconditionally receive housing in Kutaisi and Zugdidi in the near future.

    It is very important for a healthy and competitive electoral environment to refrain from initiating such new state programs shortly before the elections, as this would give the ruling candidate / party a serious advantage at the expense of taxpayers. Consequently, these decisions can be assessed as election-motivated budget expenditures.

    • On June 11, Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili dismissed Mindia Davitadze, the Chairman of Sakpatenti (National Intellectual Property Center of Georgia) . According to Davitadze, the reason for his dismissal was that he had been appointed to the post by former Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia. Davitadze is currently one of the leaders of the party For Georgia.

    Transparency International Georgia is defending Mindia Davitadze's labor rights in court, as we believe that his dismissal order is unjustified.