The Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED) stated that repeated local elections should be held in Tianeti Municipality, east-central Georgia.
ISFED demands another round of elections in Tianeti
By Tea Mariamidze
Wednesday, October 25
The NGO explains that the Tianeti District Election Commission re-counted invalid ballot papers and assessed that five of them were valid.
The organization says these five votes totally changed the picture and the ruling Georgian Dream (GD) Tianeti Mayoral candidate, Lela Kitesashvili, moved from a second place to the leading position, which was taken by Tamaz Mechiauri from the opposition party, For United Georgia, prior to reconsideration of invalid ballot papers.
ISFED statement reads that five bulletins that were added to the votes of the GD candidate should not be considered as valid because the voting rules were not observed in them.
The organization also says that their representative was observing the voting process during October 21 local elections. The ISFED observer also attended the Tianeti District Election Commission sitting, which decided to add five votes to the ruling party candidate.
“According to our representative, the elections and counting process of votes were conducted in a calm manner and the ballot papers, which later were recognized as valid, were assessed as invalid by all members of the commission,” the NGO reports.
ISFED says, the fact that the Commission members recognized the bulletins as invalid first and changed their minds later, raises serious doubts.
“District Commissions almost never satisfy the requests on opening the sealed packages and recounting votes, even when there is a high probability that the violation has occurred, however they satisfied the request of the GD representative very soon,” ISFED statement reads.
According to the NGO, current circumstances at Tianeti N20 polling station have put the district’s election results under suspicion.
“In order to ensure legitimacy, it is necessary to annul the results of Tianeti election precinct N20 and repeat the voting process,” the statement reads.
Candidate for For United Georgia and main opponent to GD’s Lela Kitesashvili, Tamaz Mechiauri also does not trust the voting results in Tianeti stating he received more votes. Mechiauri appealed to Mtskheta Court and demands abolishment of 5 additional votes added GD candidate later.
CEC says, Mechiauri received 3077 votes, while the ruling Georgian Dream candidate Lela Kitesashvili got 3081 votes.
Initially, Mechiauri was a member of the ruling team, however, after making some anti-NATO and pro-Russian statements he received a warning from the country’s Prime Minister this May. As a result, Mechiauri decided to leave the Georgian Dream party.