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ISFED releases interim report on the Monitoring of the 2020 Parliamentary Elections

By Natalia Kochiashvili
Wednesday, July 8
The International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED) presented its first interim report on the 2020 parliamentary elections on 7th of July.

The report mainly discusses the period from June 1st, 2020 to July 4th, 2020, as well as the events that began before June 1 and continued during the monitoring period.

According to ISFED, during the reporting period 19 cases of alleged voter bribery were monitored, including 16 cases by majoritarian MPs of the Parliament of Georgia, and 3 cases of movement by Momo for the future, 2 cases of alleged use of state resources, 1 case of pressure on an observer of fair elections, 2 cases of obstruction of political activities, presumably political pressure 1 fact of threat.

“The world pandemic of Coronavirus creates special needs for financial and social assistance from citizens through the state. Observing the fair elections, there has been no active political agitation by the municipal authorities in the process of providing social assistance , but there is a clear gap between the state and the ruling party, which is actively involved in the social assistance of party majoritarian MPs.” organization wrote.

According to the ISFED, in March-June, a separate majoritarian MPs presented food and/or medical packages to the population within the framework of various social events, which are signs of voter bribery under Article 252 of the Law of Georgia on Political Associations of Citizens. Majority MPs are members of the ruling party and some of them have publicly announced their participation in the upcoming parliamentary elections .

It should be noted that in 2 cases - in Gori and Senaki, the majority of MPs support the free medical-diagnostic action involved in the organization of Georgian Dream - Healthy Future, the alleged voter bribery of which was indicated by fair elections back in 2016, during the pre-election campaign.

Signs of voter bribery were also revealed in the activities of the opposition party Lelo Georgia and its affiliated organization Movement for the Future - Momo, which awarded scholarships to students and provided social assistance to citizens in Gori and Telavi.

According to the organization, the state-funded print media publication ‘Our Village’ contains signs of useful agitation for the ruling party, and its leader, Bidzina Ivanishvili .

It is expected that the Ministry of Education, Science, Sports and Culture tries to win the hearts of a wide audience of teachers with an indefinite date of the mandatory compulsory exam for practicing teachers, postponed until the fall.

ISFED has also developed recommendations. Authorities, political parties/candidates and their representatives shall not exert pressure on observers or interfere with the conduct of observation activities. Political parties shall not use such form of communication with voters as to contain signs of voter bribery and to carry out their activities in good faith; Majoritarian MPs should refrain from participating in state and/or local budget-funded activities; In carrying out charitable activities, majoritarian MPs shall observe anonymity and donate to the funds operating in this direction; Political parties should refrain from mobilizing and attending their supporters at opposition campaigns. Also, they should not allow their supporters to obstruct meetings of other parties and campaign activities.

As for local self-government bodies, when acting with the help of state and local budget funds, they should act in accordance with the principle of good faith and not create a feeling in the population that the ruling party is behind the issued aid. Charity and Humanitarian Organizations are not to violate the prohibitions established by the Election Code of Georgia or hold similar events with political parties and their representatives during charity events; charitable activities should not be used for the benefit of any party and/or candidate.