The Transparency International – Georgia has released a statement regarding the recent days’ developments in Zugdidi municipality.
According to the organization, the alleged criminal offenses committed during the campaign of the Zugdidi mayor by-elections in recent days could hinder the holding of elections in a free and fair environment and violate human rights.
“On May 14, TV company "Odishi" released a video footage depicting how a several persons assaulted Sandra Roelofs, Mayoral candidate nominated by the United National Movement (UNM), and her accompanying persons. In addition, the recording also shows that several individuals are harassing journalists and hinder their professional work. Representatives of the UNM told us that the above-mentioned harassers also tried to disrupt Sandra Roelof's election meetings. These actions clearly contain signs of criminal offense and it should not be difficult to identify the attackers.
Today, TV company “Rustavi 2” also released a video recording, depicting alleged member of Zugdidi City Assembly Gia Danelia, who speaks about the instructions on pressure, bribery and abduction of voters. It is necessary to identify the authenticity and contents of this footage.
Besides that, on May 13 “Rustavi 2” was reporting about a number of people openly claiming that the representatives of "Georgian Dream", the ruling party, offered money in exchange for their votes. This action contains signs of vote buying,” the statement reads.
The organization calls on law enforcement agencies to investigate the alleged facts of criminal offense urgently and hold the relevant persons accountable for them.
The Transparency International – Georgia calls on the ruling "Georgian Dream" party and its supporters to refrain from using illegal methods in the election campaign in order to prevent irreversible damage to the electoral processes and the country's reputation.