Pre-election environment in Georgia: violations, violence and pressure reported
Election campaign violations in Georgia
The non-governmental organization International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED) has released an assessment of the pre-election environment in Georgia.
Local self-government elections will take place in Georgia on October 2. The monitoring covers the period between August 31 and September 21, 2021.
In connection with the violations identified, ISFED has filed 27 complaints.
During this period, the following was revealed:
- Politically-motivated physical violence- 2 cases;
- Forced dismissal/dismissal for political reasons – 4 people;
- Presumptive pressure / threats / obstruction for political reasons – 20 cases;
- Abuse of the administrative resource – 3 cases;
- Alleged bribery of voters – 5 cases;
- Acting officials’ campaign – 1 case;
- Participation of unauthorized persons in the election campaign – 12 cases;
- Politicization of educational institutions – 5 cases;
The ISFED report states that several cases of damage to campaign material have also been identified. Also, the dynamic of the pre-election campaign was significantly shaken by the files of alleged wiretapping by the special services of priests, journalists, and diplomats, published on September 13, and leaked to the media.
ISFED is alarmed by the information broadcast by TV Pirveli on September 11 claiming that the state security service was collecting information on school principals and teachers and compiling so-called dossiers.
ISFED draws attention to the so-called political banners. ‘Bloody banners’, on which the main opponents of the authorities are depicted on a bloody background, were hung on the streets of Tbilisi on the night of September 17.
As ISFED states, the process of recruiting precinct election commissions with parties deserves attention:
“During the monitoring of the first meetings of precinct election commissions, there was a noticeable lack of information among members about the political parties that would nominate them”.
With regard to the use of the administrative resource, the report mentions, for example, “indirect campaigning” in favor of the ruling party on the website of the National Agency for Public Registry, which reported in the main news that the Minister of Justice made a speech and accompanied by a photograph of the minister in front of the podium, where the party’s electoral number was visible.
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On October 2, 2021, elections to local self-government bodies will be held in Georgia. The population of Georgia will elect 64 mayors and 2,044 local councilors.
This is the eighth self-government election held in independent Georgia.
On September 21, 11 days before the elections, two opposition activists who came to Dmanisi to meet with supporters were stabbed. They were seriously injured and hospitalized.
The Ministry of Internal Affairs detained David Dautashvili, born in 1993, the son of Mikhail Dautashvili, a majoritarian candidate from the ruling Georgian Dream party, for wounding supporters of the United National Movement in Dmanisi municipality.