Transparency International Georgia releases information on violations detected in the pre-election period

Transparency International Georgia has released information about the violations detected in the pre-election period. According to the organization, the following violations have been identified:

“September 28 - In the village of Sadakhlo located in Marneuli, one of the activists of European Georgia was most likely shot at with a pellet gun. The incident took place when the party activist was putting up an election poster in the village. The investigation has been launched under Article 120 of the Criminal Code of Georgia (intentional minor damage to health), which envisages a fine, community service, house arrest and/or up-to three years in prison.

September 27 - Nika Melia, opposition majoritarian candidate from the United National Movement, was assaulted by stones and eggs during a field meeting with the population in Gldanula. According to the supporters of the opposition election bloc Dzala Ertobashia, the brother of Gogi Meshveliani, a Georgian Dream majoritarian candidate, and about 50 other people attacked the members of the opposition. According to Kakha Okriashvili, the assailants had firearms and "made shots indiscriminately." Arif Yusufov, who was injured, said that he was in Chaikhana when he was attacked by the Georgian Dream candidate's brother. Gogi Meshveliani denies the accusations and instead blames the opposition for instigating physical violence.

September 24 - Late at night, unidentified individuals attacked Ninia Tsiskarishvili, a representative of the United National Movement headquarters in Saburtalo. Violence is a crime under Article 126 of the Criminal Code. Violence committed in a group activity is punishable by a fine, community service, or imprisonment for up to two years.

September 23 - In Bolnisi, the election headquarters of Strength is in Unity and the United National Movement came under attack. Posters were torn down at the election headquarters of Kakha Okriashvili, a member from the Georgian Dream parliamentary majority who is currently a majoritarian candidate of the United National Movement. Moreover, there was damage to video surveillance cameras and derogatory words were written on the walls.

According to a decision by the Tbilisi Mayor, Kakha Kaladze, 87 families, who had been living in illegal locations for years, will have the properties transferred to their name. According to Kaladze, more than 900 families have had their properties legalized in the framework of this project. In August and September, the government initiated up to 20 major social projects.

September 22 - Farman Alazov, a commission member from the 33rd electoral precinct of the 22nd electoral district of Marneuli, attended field meetings held by Zaur Dargali, a Georgian Dream majoritarian candidate. This is a violation of Article 45 (4) of the Election Code, which envisages a sanction with a fine of 2000 GEL.

September 20 - According to a statement by Khatia Dekanoidze, United National Movement majoritarian candidate for Isani, there is an ongoing illegal surveillance on her, her family members, including her 21-year-old child. This case has signs of criminal wrongdoing. It is important for this case to be timely and effectively investigated.

September 19 - A square was opened in Gldanula and Georgian Dream elections posters were put up there. This is a violation of Article 45 (4) of the Election Code, which envisages a sanction with a fine of 2000 GEL.

September 18 - Lasha Tsutskiridze, a United National Movement activist, was assaulted by masked men after he left his headquarters in the Saburtalo district of Tbilisi. He received bodily injuries as a result of the attack. Violence committed in a group activity is punishable by a fine, community service, or up to 2 years in prison.

September 17 - The HQ of Levan Khabeishvili, a United National Movement majoritarian candidate, came under attack in Samgori, Africa Settlement. According to Khabeishvili, the incident took place late at night on September 17. According to him, there were two persons who most likely threw bricks at the headquarters building and smashed the windows. There are signs of criminal wrongdoing in this case.

September 16 - In one of the schools in the Zugdidi municipality, the principal of the school asked the teachers to bring a list of Georgian Dream supporters. In another school, the principal asked the teacher to attend a pre-election meeting of Irakli Chikovani, a Georgian Dream majoritarian candidate. Both individuals wished to remain anonymous. A representative of our organization spoke to them.

The Election Code of Georgia prohibits getting any career subordinate or otherwise dependent person involved in an activity that may support the presentation and/or election of a candidate.

The coercion of a teacher by a principal to do something that the teacher has the right to deny is a violation of Article 150 of the Criminal Code of Georgia.

This crime is punished by a fine, restrictions on gun ownership, house arrest from six months to two years and/or imprisonment for up to one year.

September 11 - In Mtskheta, the Prime Minister of Georgia, Giorgi Gakharia, and the Secretary-General of the Georgian Dream, Kakha Kaladze, within the framework of Georgian Dream's Majoritarian MP Dimitri Khundadze's electoral campaign, got acquainted with the details of the project of adaptation of a movie theater into an archeological museum. This is problematic as per international best practice, there should be a clear separation between the state and the ruling political party.

September 9 - Counter-agitation was carried out by employees of a state-funded municipal N(N)LE during the presentation of Lelo’s candidate in Zugdidi. They are prohibited to carry out election agitation, including counter-agitation, during work hours. Moreover, the activity had signs of interfering in a pre-election campaign. Illegal agitation is punishable by a monetary fine of 2000 GEL.

September 8 - In Dmanisi, a new square was opened by the Municipality Mayor Giorgi Tatuashvili along with Kakha Okriashvili, a majoritarian candidate for Dmanisi-Tsalka from the United National Movement. The Mayor violated Article 45 (7) of the Election Code on illegal agitation, which envisages a monetary fine of 2000 GEL.

September 6 - Member of the Sakrebulo from the Georgian Dream, Vugar Isaev, made derogatory remarks towards the journalist from Mtavari Arkhi and allegedly threatened violence with a knife. The journalist was covering field meetings of opposition MP candidates with the population in the region. Unlawful interference in a journalist’s professional activities with a threat of violence is punishable under Article 154 (2) of the Criminal Code. This crime is punished by a fine or imprisonment for up to two years, deprivation of the right to hold an official position or to carry out a particular activity for up to three years.

September 3 - In three municipalities of Shida Kartli, Kakha Kaladze, Secretary-General of the Georgian Dream, and Giorgi Gakharia, Prime Minister of Georgia, together with majoritarian candidates Irakli Mezurnishvili, Giorgi Khojevanishvili and Zaza Dugladze, visited four state-funded infrastructure projects and carried out pre-election agitation. This is problematic as per international best practice, there should be a clear separation between the state and the ruling political party.

August 29-31 - In four municipalities of Adjara in Batumi, Khulo, Shuakhevi and Kobuleti, Kakha Kaladze, Secretary General of the Georgian Dream, and Giorgi Gakharia, Prime Minister of Georgia, together with respective majoritarian candidates Resan Kontselidze, Anzor Bolkvadze and Tsotne Ananidze visited six state-funded infrastructure projects and carried out pre-election agitation. This is problematic as per international best practice, there should be a clear separation between the state and the ruling political party.

August 18 and 21 - In four municipalities of Kvemo Kartli in Tetritskaro, Tsalka, Marneuli and Gardabani, the Prime-Minister of Georgia, Giorgi Gakharia, together with the General Secretary of Georgian Dream, Kakha Kaladze, Chairperson of the Parliament, Archil Talakvadze, and respective majoritarian candidates for the election districts, Gogi Meshveliani and Zaur Dargali, visited seven state-funded infrastructure projects and carried out pre-election agitation. This is problematic as per international best practice, there should be a clear separation between the state and the ruling political party.

August 18 - Six employees of the Ninotsminda City Hall resigned from their positions, while 10 so-called Village Trustees were dismissed after their contracts ran out. One of those dismissed, Jora Snkhchviani, stated that he had been told by a representative of the Samtskhe-Javakheti Regional Administration to leave his position.

August 17 - Sozr Subari, Varketili majoritarian candidate, visited a sports complex near Public School #215 within his election campaign. The sports complex was renovated with funding from the Tbilisi City Hall. This is problematic as per international best practice, there should be a clear separation between the state and the ruling political party.

August 11 - In Lagodekhi, the Prime-Minister of Georgia, Giorgi Gakharia, together with the General Secretary of Georgian Dream, Kakha Kaladze, Political Secretary of Georgian Dream, Irakli Garibashvili and Georgian Dream’s majoritarian candidate for the Telavi, Akhmeta, Kvareli and Lagodekhi election districts, visited two state-funded infrastructure projects and carried out pre-election agitation.

This is problematic as per international best practice, there should be a clear separation between the state and the ruling political party.

September 1-29 - During the aforementioned period, our organization revealed 22 instances when various public servants from Samegrelo municipalities were actively carrying out agitation in support of the ruling party during work hours. This is a violation of Article 45 (4) of the Election Code and envisages a monetary fine of 2000 GEL”, reads the information released by Transparency International Georgia.

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