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Georgian Dream points at another mistake by ISFED that helped radical opposition

By Natalia Kochiashvili
Tuesday, December 15
ISFED, which conducted a parallel counting of votes in the October 31, 2020, parliamentary elections, said on December 11 that a flaw had been identified in the formula for counting votes cast by the election subjects. In particular, in addition to the votes received by the election subjects, the invalid ballots were also counted, and as a result of the correction, the percentage of votes received by the election subjects changed slightly, however, the difference does not affect the number of mandates received. According to the initial results of the parallel count, the Georgian Dream had 45.8% of the vote, and after the correction-47.6%.

On December 14, the Georgian Dream demanded that the election observer NGO Fair Elections submit a list of 8% of the polling stations, where, according to the organization, the excess of ballot papers was revealed.

"This is a delicate issue because it concerns a non-governmental organization, and an even more delicate issue is that it is a project involving American and European taxpayers' money, and this is a project funded by the United States and Europe," the ruling party stated.

"Even though the radical opposition based on the PVT tried to bring the situation into crisis daily, Fair Elections carefully hid the falsity of the PVT for the next 2 weeks."

According to Kobakhidze, the Georgian Dream tried its best to avoid damaging the reputation of the NGO and consciously did not publicly make a reasonable assumption about the manipulation of the PVT, which was recorded in closed meetings.

“This assessment is as grossly wrong as the initial data of PVT. The number of ballot papers across the country was finally recorded in only 19 out of 3847 polling stations, and the total number of surplus ballots was 25 out of 2 million ballots,” he said.

According to Kobakhidze, they thoroughly analyzed the complaints filed by ISFED and the data of the appealed polling stations and found that the excess of ballot papers was not observed even in 8.1% of the polling stations counted by this organization. Out of 1000 precincts counted, only 8 precincts were reported, of which more or less substantial imbalances were observed in only 3 precincts.

He added that it takes exactly one day to verify this shortcoming and publish the data of the relevant precincts.

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) responded to ISFED, saying it values long-term, close cooperation with the independent and impartial ISFED.

They welcomed the decision of ISFED, which on its initiative verified the results of the parallel counting (PVT) and presented the internal audit report to the public. USAID wrote that ISFED is a professional and reputable civil society organization that is always responsible for providing transparent information, quality control of its data, and accuracy of results in accordance with the internationally recognized best practice of PVT.

"We support the transparent work of all election monitoring organizations and appreciate ISFED's work in the difficult post-election environment," USAID stated.