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NGOs appeal to UNM to return to the Inter-agency commission

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Tuesday, October 15
NGOs have appealed to the United National Movement (UNM) to return to the meetings of the Inter-Agency Task Force for Free and Fair Elections (IATF). They also asked the chair of the commission, Minister of Justice, Thea Tsulukiani, to refrain from “unconstructive” remarks.

Transparency International Georgia (TI), Institute for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED) and the Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association (GYLA) issued a joint statement on October 14, responding to the events that occurred at the IATF sitting between the members of the UNM and Minister Tsulukiani.

They stressed that a member of the UNM, Tinatin Bokuchava, told the minister that the ruling team wants to destroy the United National Movement.

NGOs claim that it was not the single fact of an “out of format” discussion during the meetings that disturbs the fair election process in the country. However, the NGOs stated that the commission has already elaborated important recommendations and discussed the problematic issues in detail.

“The format of the commission is significant. NGOs and other political entities have opportunities to raise important issues for discussion during the commission meetings. According to the information, the commission elaborates recommendations,” the NGOs stated.

They highlighted that the minister, who performs the role of a facilitator as well, should be more patient.

The UNM is ready to review its October 11th decision regarding quitting the commission if the Georgian Dream investigate “various facts of election violations” and will not pursue people for their political beliefs.

However, according to Bokuchava, “there are no signs from the minister’s side that she and the ruling team might change their negative attitude towards the main opposition party.”

UNM member Giorgi Vashadze stated that the government uses the sessions for political contradictions. He said many complaints were sent to the council, but they were not addressed.

Minister Tsulukiani stated that with the withdrawal from the inter-agency commission, the National Movement is harming its presidential candidate and harming those voters who might be willing to vote for Davit Bakradze.

“So first of all I want to advise the presidential candidate of the UNM to get his party back into the inter-agency commission as soon as possible where we are discussing issues significant for the presidential candidates,” Tsulukiani stated, adding that the UNM delivers information first to the international organizations to raise the issues during the IATF meetings.

(IATF) is made up of representatives from the political parties and various ministries and state agencies. IATF is tasked with analyzing information about the electoral process brought to its attention by all stakeholders, as well as information disseminated by the media; drafting recommendations for public servants and authorities, responding to allegations once verified.