ISFED 4th Interim Pre-Election Report
The International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy has been monitoring October 8, 2016 elections of the Parliament of Georgia and Ajara Supreme Council since July 1, with support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). The fourth interim report of the pre-election monitoring covers the period from September 2 to October 1, 2016, as well as developments that began to unfold before September 1 and continued during the monitoring period.
During the pre-election period campaigning moved into an especially active phase. ISFED observers monitored 643 meetings held by political subjects from September 1 to October 1.
Alongside the active pre-election campaign, election violation incidents grew considerably, jeopardizing free and fair pre-election environment. During the reporting period ISFED detected 3 cases of alleged political dismissals; 11 cases of intimidation; 12 cases of abuse of administrative resources; 8 cases of interference with campaigning; 6 cases of violence; 4 cases of possible vote buying; 2 cases of vandalizing party offices; 37 cases of destroying campaign materials 4 cases of using hate speech; 8 cases of campaigning by unauthorized individuals.
Alarming incidents of violence between political opponents and activists have been identified during the period leading up to the elections. Activists and supporters of opposition parties as well as the ruling party suffered injuries as a result of use of force and cold weapons. People have been hospitalized following these incidents. Subsequent investigations have been launched.
As the election date approaches, acts of harassment/intimidation against opposition members and activists on alleged political grounds are growing considerably. It is mostly representatives of opposition electoral subjects that are targeted by various forms of harassment and intimidation. During the reporting period representatives of opposition parties reported verbal threats, removal of social benefits and other forms of intimidation to ISFED observers.