TI Georgia and ISFED react to recent pre-election developments
We would like to react to recent developments that are directly linked to electoral processes. Firstly, we welcome Vice Prime Minister Kakha Kaladze's initiative on the annulment of minimum mandatory number of candidates on election lists and the CEC's resolution, pursuant to which, if a party list of an election entity includes candidates less than the statutory minimum number, a party list will be annulled only in certain exceptions. This means that the lists of several opposition parties will not be withdrawn and they will be able to participate in elections in the specific districts. This is especially important in light of allegations of various political parties and their representatives about pressure exerted on concrete candidates. Unfortunately, relevant state authorities still have not reacted adequately and investigation on these facts still has not been launched.
Another problematic issue ahead of elections relates to developments in Marneuli, and in particular the decision of the District Election Commission on potential deregistration of Akmamed Imamkuliev, candidate of the United National Movement to the office of Gamgebeli (local governor), for failure to meet the country residence criterion. Leaders of the United National Movement have visited the District Election Commission to protest against this fact, followed by a verbal confrontation with the Commission Chair.
We reprove the intrusion of the United National Movement leaders in the District Election Commission (DEC) building and pressuring on the Commission Chair. Irrespective of whether the Commission's decision was acceptable or not, such aggressive actions of the parties' leaders and their supporters are intolerable.
We call on the political parties to refrain from aggressive actions that may lead to increased tensions during the pre-election period. On its hand, it is crucial that the investigative authorities investigate alleged facts of pressure on candidates as soon as possible. Further, it is important that the election administration is consistent, and that its every decision meets the requirements of law and aims to create equal opportunities for the parties.
International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED)
Transparency International Georgia