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GYLA’s critical pre-election report

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Thursday, June 12
The Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association presented its report on the pre-election environment on June 11. The report covers the period from May 1 to June 10, reflecting the situation in nine regions of Georgia.

The GYLA assessed the activities of the Interior Ministry, Central Election Commission and Inter agency Commission negatively during this period.

The organization claims that the government failed to prevent violations and pressure being placed on the individuals involved in the elections. Moreover, according to the NGO, the Interior Ministry stated that there was no pressure being leveraged on a political basis, and the ministry made the statement in prior of concluding investigation over alleged violations. The NGO emphasized that the activities carried out under the Interagency Commission, which should ensure a free and equal election environment, were ineffective. The GYLA states that in the majority cases, the recommendations of the commission were ignored.

The GYLA stated that the Central Election Commission used different standards in terms of the various candidates that affect the body’s image.

“A term of two years living in Georgia is obligatory for the candidates taking part in voting process. The opposition candidates were removed from the candidate lists when they failed to meet the criteria, when the CEC made a different decision concerning the candidates of the Georgian Dream coalition,” the NGO states.

According to a specific article in the election code, if one of the candidates removes his name from the party list, the whole list is abolished.

“We have information that the CEC wanted to abolish the article. However, the Georgian Dream coalition received the information in advance and appropriated the initiative,” the GYLA states. (Kakha Kaladze, from the Georgian Dream coalition initiated the amendment).

The organization positively assessed the decision of the Defense Ministry. According to the decision, soldiers will vote in the usual election districts.

The current government states that much has been done for creating a fair and transparent election environment in the country since the Georgian Dream has been in office. The Ministers of Defense and Interior Affairs claim that their bodies are no longer politicized or negatively involved in the election process, as was the case under the previous leadership.

The UNM negatively assesses the pre-election environment. UNM MP Zurab Japaridze claims that the negative developments in the country in terms of election environment are evident to Georgia’s foreign allies as well.

The U.S. Ambassador to Georgia Richard Norland stated that in general, the pre-election period can be “positively” assessed in Georgia. However, there were certain incidents that should be investigated.