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Inter-agency task force issues recommendations

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Friday, September 6
On September 4th, the Inter-agency Task Force for Free and Fair Elections ( IATF) under the Ministry of Justice gave its recommendations concerning the upcoming presidential election. The recommendations are designed for local and central government bodies, for all political entities and the prosecutor’s office.

The IATF addressed local governments to refrain from terminating contracts with various media outlets during the election period and to avoid putting pressure on the media. The task force appealed to local government bodies to maximally encourage media transparency.

IATF recommended that government bodies give detailed information and explanations to civil servants about their rights and responsibilities during an election period.

IATF appealed to political entities to ensure inner-party discipline, respect for the law and respect for their opponents’ events.

"Each citizen has a right to express protest towards a party or politician…However, freedom of expression should be respect the law and not violate public order." the IATF statement reads.

The task force addressed local self-governments to refrain from making significant changes to their staff during the election period, as this might unduly influence the outcome of the election.

The last section of the recommendations was written for the Prosecutor’s Office. The task force appealed to the Prosecutor's Office to refrain from carrying out investigations during the election campaign period. "The exceptions are those cases that attract high public interest." the IATF statement reads.

The IATF was first created for the 2012 parliamentary elections and was initially part of the National Security Council. After the new government came to power, IATF came under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Justice. IATF cooperates with political parties, domestic non-governmental organizations, international organizations and election observers and is tasked with analyzing information about the electoral process. In addition it analyses information disseminated by the media, creates recommendations for public servants and authorities and responds to allegations of government interference in the election process.

The IATF includes representatives from the Ministries of Internal Affairs, Justice, Development and Infrastructure, Finance, Foreign Affairs, Defense and Prisons, as well as from the office of the National Security Council.