The Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association (GYLA) conducted a presentation of the first pre-election period monitoring report on May 20. The NGO conducted observation of the pre-election processes in Tbilisi and in eight regions. The report covers the period from April 1 to April 30. However, it also includes the facts, which took place before April 1, and according to the organization, are important for the comprehensive reflection of the pre-election environment.
GYLA’s reveals pre-election monitoring outcomes
By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Thursday, May 22
Within the reporting period, GYLA observers revealed 3 cases of campaign rules violations by the public servants, 1 case of illegal administrative resource use, 1 case of voter bribery, 7 cases of election process-related criminal prosecutions, 18 cases of imposing administrative sanctions, 1 case of physical violence and 9 facts of politically motivated dismissals.
GYLA states that on April 10, 2014, attempts at disrupting the pre-election meetings of the United National Movement were made, which in some cases took on a violent nature. Within the mentioned period, especial attention was paid to the events in the Kvareli Municipality, where the Municipality Sakrebulo (City Council) confronted the Gamgebeli (the elected governor).
GYLA stresses that various positive amendments were introduced in the 2014 electoral legislation such as the direct election of the mayors and Gamgebelis, changes in terms of thresholds and some others. However, the NGO highlights shortcomings like the unchanged system for electing the Sakrebulo, and the absence of biometric lists.
According to the information available to the GYLA observers, in those DECs, where GYLA observers conducted monitoring, the composition of the PEC was conducted in compliance with the requirements of the law. GYLA positively assessed the moratorium regarding the arrests by the Prime Minister of Georgia. “Announcement of the moratorium by the Prime-Minister represented the demonstration of the political will of the government, for the persons involved in the electoral processes to be able to conduct a comprehensive campaign,” GYLA states.
GYLA emphasizes that media freedom has improved in Georgia. Despite this, the public broadcaster does not have a functioning Board of Trustees. The CEC Resolution, which establishes limitations on the media in recordings videos in the voting halls, remains an acute issue prior to the elections.
Member of the Georgian Dream Eka Beselia stated that the survey revealed a “positive election dynamic in Georgia.”
Pikria Chikhradze from the non-parliamentary opposition New Rights, stated that she agrees with all the points of the organization and admits that one of the major problems is related to the inequality in election commissions. “From the 13 members of the commission, 12 represent the coalition Georgian Dream and one the parliamentary minority United National Movement,” Chikhradze said.
Representative of the United National Movement Sevdia Ugrekhelidze claims that the election environment is unequal, and the administrative resources remain in the coalition’s hands.
Head of the Labour Party Shalva Natelashvili states that there is no election environment at all, as the non-parliamentary opposition parties have no free ads, or members in the election commissions.