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Fair elections: claims and reality

By Messenger Staff
Thursday, June 28
Intriguing pre election processes continue to go on in Georgia. On one hand, the ruling power has announced publicly that it will protect all the conditions for fair elections. On the other hand, there are clear-cut direct attempts to put pressure on the finances of the ruling party's opponent– Bidzina Ivanishvili and his political union. Very often, this pressure is justified without following Rule of Law standards think independent analysts.

Meanwhile President Saakashvili creates his pre election campaigning based on promoting democratic values. He promotes such ideas which cannot be doubted. The election process cannot be bribed and Georgian democracy is not for sale, states Saakashvili. One could agree with that, although observers mention that the ruling administration itself drives the electorate and puts Georgian democracy on sale. So on the one hand, Saakashvili and his team is creating an ideological background for its moves, speculating about transparent elections and the creation of a friendly media environment. But on the other hand, proposing draconian sanctions levied against Ivanishvili’s coalition which includes penalties, the seizure of the property and other similar punitive measures, which as independent lawyers say, are violations of the rule of law. These actions have become even fiercer since the Georgian Dream coalition organized rallies in Tbilisi, Kutaisi and Ozurgeti, where several thousand of people appeared showing support and sympathy towards opposition leader.

However, the ruling administration continues to carry on its controversial policy. Initially, journalists and NGOs demanded that the government establish a Must Carry policy for the media countrywide. After its initial rejection, officials later agreed to implement this principle but for the limited pre election terms. However, just before the decision, almost 300, 000 satellite antennas were seized throughout the country. Those antennas were providing the population with access to all information sources including that of the opposition. Media analysts and specialists suggest that this move by Parliamentary Chair David Bakradze is simply a continuation of the general practice of the ruling authorities "embracing" democratic principles, but in reality they create obstacles instead. Some analysts think that the ruling administration is deliberately aggravating the situation in the country in order to create a favorable background for the possible unrest, or furthermore an attempt to initiate provocations themselves.

The first such attempt has already been seen in the village of Mereti in the Shida Kartli region just couple of hundred meters away from the administrative border of the breakaway Tskhinvali region. Unfortunately such steps are a high risk for general stability of the country and are a threat to the legitimacy of the elections.