Evaluation of the By-Election of Municipality Sakrebulos
The International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED) observed the by-election of municipality Sakrebulos on October, 27, 2019 in all Electoral districts: Lagodekhi – 4 polling stations, Martvili – 2 polling stations, Adigeni – 1 polling station.
On the Election Day, the process of polling station opening, voting and vote count at the electoral precincts was mostly peaceful, organized and free from any significant violations. However, during the voting, there was a massive trend of mobilization of party activists of the Georgian Dream tracking voters outside of all polling stations which is a continuation of the past negative practice. In certain cases, the party activists tracked the voters while sitting in cars nearby polling stations. At Lagodekhi electoral precinct no. 25, tables placed outside the voting premises were used by the Georgian Dream party activists holding the lists to track voters before they entered the polling station.
ISFED considers that such actions could amount to control of voters, which negatively affects the free expression of voters’ will and it may be perceived by voters as indirect pressure. Practice of tracking the voters once again highlights the problems related to the environment of intimidation and harassment of the voter during the pre-election period and its negative impact on the electoral process.
ISFED expresses its regret that irrespective of multiple suggestions and recommendations made in the past to eradicate the above-mentioned negative practice, the cases of mobilization of the party activists and tracking of voters were still prevalent and has been extensive during the by election of municipality Sakrebulos.
The ISFED observation mission was made possible with the generous support from the American people, by financial support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The views expressed in this statement belong solely to the International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy and may not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the U.S. Government.