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ISFED reveals electoral monitoring results

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Monday, June 18
The International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED) has introduced the second stage of their political environment monitoring. The results indicate that the use of administrative resources and political pressure on voters has significantly increased compared to former years.

There have been 10 cases of job dismissal due to political attitudes, 9 cases of political pressure, 2 cases of physical outrage for political views, 4 cases of disturbing journalists while carrying out their professional duty, 2 cases of disturbing observer organizations, and 6 cases of using administrative resources revealed within the period May 4 to June 4, 2012.

The organization revealed these facts, including the personal information of affected people. It should be mentioned that almost all of those dismissed from their jobs for their political views were related with the Georgian Dream political coalition. As for using administrative resources, the main players in this regard were the National Movement representatives or officials. As the organization claims, observers of monitoring organizations were disturbed by both the ruling party and Georgian Dream representatives in different cases.

The organization also underlined that several facts from those outlined in the report include the citing of criminal offences, especially those violating labor rights, and rights of expression.

ISFED also mentioned the Chamber of Control and recent debatable issues in its report, including handing out of fines and court subpoenas. Concerning the Global TV case the Chamber of Control connected the cable organization with the Georgian Dream. For this connection, coalition leader Bidzina Ivanishvili was fined with millions of GEL and the cable company was inconvenienced. The organization admitted that the contracts which were signed with Global TV customers did not violate the law. ISFED outlined that they are proceeding to study the issue thoroughly. The NGO also mentioned “many inadequacies” regarding the fining of German citizen Bidzina Giorgobiani, who donated money to the charitable organization Komagi. Komagi was also connected to Ivanishvili by the Chamber of Control, and Giorgobiani himself was a former member of the Conservative party. ISFED also paid attention to the court trials, which according to the organization are not conducted as they should be and the judges mainly make hasty decisions without properly studying the cases.

The same attitude regarding the pre election reality was fixed by the Chair of Transparency International Georgia, Nina Khatiskatsi, who has suggested that the “number of pre-election violations are so big, that the NGOs do not have enough resources to check them.”

Khatiskatsi mentioned that election campaigning by both the ruling and opposition parties have launched too early this year, which has created more problems compared to previous years.

She has also underlined one “dissimilar” feature from a past experience. “Unlike in previous years when people were mainly dismissed from state structures due to their political affiliation, currently they are dismissed from private sector as well,” Khatiskatsi said .

Both NGOs appeal to the authorities and interested sides to think about these tendencies. According to them, the “election's fate is not decided in a day,” and that holding fair election encompasses the whole process.