New Report: Pre-Election Period Monitoring Results
For immediate release
As part of the project ‘Transparent and Accountable Political Finances in Georgia’, Transparency International Georgia (TI Georgia) has released a new report, ‘Pre Election Period Monitoring Results’. The report analyzes the pre-election environment in Georgia in the period from August 1 to September 27. During this period, TI Georgia identified a number of troubling tendencies:
The use of legal resources for electoral and political purposes. Ideally, governments should refrain from adopting new regulations in the immediate pre-election period. However, the Georgian government enacted several new regulations. For instance, the Central Election Commission of Georgia introduced a new resolution regarding photography and video recording in polling stations which violates Georgian legislation. Other legislative amendments in this period also severely contradicted international standards.
The problem of law enforcement and selective justice. Several instances of the inconsistent and unacceptable interpretation of legislation were identified in the pre-election period. Government agencies often reacted selectively to the activities political parties, and interpretations of the law were often made in favor of the ruling party and against the opposition. On the one hand, certain norms of the criminal code were interpreted very broadly by the prosecution agencies in order to bring their political opponents to criminal liability, while on the other hand administrative sanctions were imposed in some cases of vote-buying in place of full criminal investigations.
Pressure on political grounds. TI Georgia identified a number of cases of political pressure in the pre-election period, especially in the last few days. While cases of dismissal from employment on political grounds decreased significantly, the frequency of detentions of political opponents increased. All of the people detained in this period were charged with violations of administrative legislation, which should result in either an administrative fine or imprisonment. But all of them were sentenced to imprisonment. Worryingly, it was not just political party activists that were detained, but also civil activists. Among them were Dachi Tsaguria and Aleksandre Tsagareli.
The use of state institutional resources for political and electoral purposes. In the period under review, the ruling party often used state institutional resources (civil servants, government transport etc.) for electoral purposes. Specifically, civil servants conducted campaigning during working hours, and often at events financed from the state budget. We appreciate that the election administration and the inter-agency commission reacted properly to some of these cases, but the trend is nevertheless worrying.
Vote buying. During the reporting period, we identified several cases of obvious vote-buying by both the ruling and opposition parties.
The preparation of this report was made possible by the generous aid of the American people, provided through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). TI Georgia bears all responsibility for the content of the report, and it may not represent the views of the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), USAID and the USA.
The report was prepared with Open Society-Georgia Foundation financial assistance. The foundation bears no responsibility for the content of the report.