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Inter- Agency Task Force appeals to self-governments

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Tuesday, September 10
Minister of Justice, Thea Tsulukiani stated that it is unacceptable for one voter to beat another just because they support another presidential candidate. She made the statement after the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) meeting on September 9. The minister said that that the IATF took all the NDI recommendations into account and the list of removed voters will be available from September 9. The Inter-agency task force asked the president of Georgia and the Central Elections Commission (CEC) not to use their maximal terms regarding selection of the CEC chair and solve the issue as soon as possible.

According to the statements made after the meeting, the topic issues concerned the election process and incidents regarding pressure placed on self-governments in Georgia's regions.

The minister stated that she welcomed launching an investigation regarding the two cases. One of the cases is related with the beating of a United National Movement supporter.

“I, as a chair of the commission, welcome the Prosecutor’s Office decision…It is a very definite signal for all that no one should be beaten up for his political beliefs,” Tsulukiani stated.

Tsulukiani addressed the self-governments and appealed to them to maintain a peaceful environment and suspend impeachment procedures regarding staff during the election period.

“I will go to the Bolnisi region with the representatives of the ministry of interior affairs, prosecutor’s office, ministry of infrastructure and regional developments and NGOs to see the situation in the self-government,” the minister stated, and added that the emotional background will not bring any positive for building the state.

The IATF believes that the chair of CEC should be appointed as soon as possible as absence of the chair creates obstacles for the normal functioning of the election process.

“The last term for the president to present the candidates is September 12. The commission appeals to the president not to use the term maximally. CEC also has a 5 day term for selection of the chair. We also appeal to the CEC not to use all the 5 days for choosing the chairperson,” IATF member, Irine Imerlishvili stated.

The minister stated that the commission took all 4 recommendations of the NDI observers into account concerning the removed candidates from the registration.

“The list is available from today. Those individuals who were removed from registration should appeal to the appropriate structures until October 10 and take the free-of-charge ID cards. After the procedure they will be automatically registered,” Tsulukiani stated.

A statement concerning the issue was made by the representative of the president’s administration, Nino Kalandadze. She stressed that selecting the candidates and communication will all interested sides requires time.

11 NGOs have already presented their common candidate, Tamar Zhvania. The president assessed the fact positively. However, it is still unknown who might be the three candidates who will be named by Mikheil Saakashvili.

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 analyzes 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.