Misuse of Administrative Resources during Electoral Processes Frequently Asked Questions

22 September, 2017

Q: What type of administrative resources can be misused during electoral processes?

  • Judicial (Legislative, regulatory) 
  • Institutional
  • Financial
  • Enforceme

Q: What is a judicial administrative resource and how it can be used for election purposes?

A: In such cases, law is amended in the election period to create unequal environment for the candidates.

E.g. Issues regards assignment of a ballot number to an election subject; limiting the right to record photo-video material during the voting process; creating a requirement of advanced payment for election advertising.

Q: What is an institutional administrative resource and how it can be used for election purposes?

A: Misuse of institutional administrative resource encompasses engagement of publicly funded material or human resources in the election process to give advantage or disadvantage to one of the candidates. Such actions are prohibited by the Georgian law and will result in fine of GEL 2000.

E.g. Election campaigning at an event or presentation financed from the state budget; creating campaign material, video or audio material, website or part of it using public finances; usage of state-owned vehicle for party activities is also considered as use of institutional administrative resources (exception applies to public figures who are protected by the state security services).

Q: What is a financial administrative resource and how it can be used for election purposes?

A: Use of financial administrative resources for election purposes encompasses directing state or local public financial resources to a campaign of the ruling party or any other candidate. The Election Code of Georgia prohibits use of financial resources in this manner. Specifically, the law prohibits increase in spending of state-funded programs or starting a new program 60 days before the election.

Electorally motivated public spending can also be categorized as misuse of financial administrative resources. This can take form of implementation of programs shortly before to elections, that are targeted towards winning over voters and not towards long-term development of the country.

E.g.: Increase of pensions in the pre-election period; temporary employment programs.

Q: What is an enforcement administrative resource and how it can be used for election purposes?

A: Use of enforcement administrative resource encompasses persecution of individuals; engagement of personnel in political activities that give advantage to one candidate or another. Misuse of administrative resources in this manner is prohibited by the Georgian legislation.

E.g. Arrest, inquiry and prosecution of opposition political party activists, political pressure and firing of employees of kindergartens; political pressure on opposition politicians with a goal of pressuring them into withdrawing from election race; political pressure and firing of employees of public schools and other state-funded organizations.

Q: Is engagement of a person employed at publicly funded organization in election campaign use of administrative resources?

A: Engagement in election campaign during working hours is prohibited. Such activities are allowed during vacation or non-working hours; public employees are: a professional public servant, a person employed based on administrative contract, a person employed based on work contract.

Political appointees can participate in election campaign even during working hours. Those officials include:

  • President of Georgia
  • Member of the Parliament of Georgia
  • Prime Minister of Georgia
  • Other ministers and their deputies
  • Members of the highest representative institutions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia
  • Heads of governments of Abkhazia and South Ossetia
  • City mayors and members of local city councils;
  • Regional governors.

Some individuals are prohibited from engagement in election campaign even during vacations and non-working hours:

  • Member of election commission
  • Judge
  • Employees of State Prosecutor’s Office, Ministry of Internal Affairs, Ministry of Defense, State security and intelligence agencies and state security special service.
  • Auditor General
  • Ombudsman
  • Foreign citizens and organizations
  • Charity and religious organizations
  • Civil servants of central and local governments - only during working hours and/or when there are performing their work duties;
  • Members of Georgian National Communication Commission and Georgian National Energy and Water Supply Regulatory Commission.

Q: Which agency does oversee misuse of administrative resources?

A: Election Commissions and Interagency Commission are responsible for reacting on illegal use of administrative resources during electoral purposes,

Q: Can an action, that is not explicitly illegal, still be considered as misuse of administrative resources?

A: Yes, it can. For example, to amend central or local budgets at least 60 days prior to the Election Day is legal. However, if this amendment is clearly motivated by elections and does not serve the long-term development goals of the country, it can be considered as misuse of financial administrative resources.

Transparency International Georgia uses following filter when analyzing such facts:

  • Implementation period
  • Political benefit
  • Number of beneficiaries
  • Legitimate priorities of state development vs. short-term populism.