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NGO reveals election violation

By Mariam Chanishvili
Wednesday, August 24
The International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED) said in its latest report released yesterday that both Government and opposition representatives are indulging in election bribery ahead of the October 8 Parliamentary Elections.

Speaking about the report, the ISFED's executive director, Mikheil Benidze, said that from July 17 until August 8, several incidents of political pressure, electoral bribery, hate speech, use of administrative resources and other violations have been detected by his organisation.

“The organization believes that during the pre-election period, electoral bribery has increased and the reaction of the state bodies on this issue has been inadequate,” noted Benidze.

Benidze highlighted one of the electoral bribery incidents by the Prime Minister of Georgia, GiorgiKvirikashvili, when the PM handed out rings in western Beshum, Adjara Region to a newly married couple during a local festival last month.

Benidze believed the fact as an electoral bribery by the ruling Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia (GDDG) party.

The ISFED head also stressed that members of the United National Movement (UNM) opposition party were also mentioned in cases of alleged wrongdoing when they handed a wheelchair to one of the residents of eastern Marneuli area during the pre-election period, which officially was launched on June 8.

A lawyer of the organization, Nino Rijamadze stated that the monitoring revealed the facts of physical confrontations in western Batumi and eastern Telavi areas.

According to her, the investigation about the confrontation in Telavi is being investigated, while in Batumi, it was the result of a poor enforcement mobilization.

According to the report, hate speech has been used by a member of the parliament, ex-UNM member Giorgi Vashadze, who is now united in the new political platform with Georgia’s famous Opera singer Paata Burchuladz, as well as by Shalva Natelashvili, who is chair of the non-parliamentary opposition Georgian Labour Party.

The non-governmental organization appeals to politicians to avoid electoral bribery.

They also appealed to the government to have an adequate reaction to the violations.

The NGO calls on public officials and local authorities that they have no right to agitation and that during working hours they do not have the right to participate in the political campaign.