Vote Buying and Misuse of Administrative Resources in Pre-Election Campaign - ISFED 2nd Report Chat Conversation End
On August 23, the International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED) presented its second interim report of pre-election for the Parliamentary Elections of October 8, 2016. The report covers the period from July 17 through August 8.
During the reporting period ISFED found 4 instances of intimidation/harassment based on political affiliation, 2 cases of physical violence, 3 cases of possible vote buying, 4 cases of campaigning by unauthorized persons, 8 cases of misuse of administrative resources, 4 cases of interference with pre-election campaigning, 4 cases of use of hate speech, 7 cases of local self-governments making changes in budgets for social and infrastructure projects; 3 cases of misconduct by election commission members.
The report reviews the main trends identified during the reporting period. Among them, are the instances of vote-buying. ISFED believes, that vote buying incidents grew during the pre-election period, while those involved in vote buying have not faced legal responsibility This points out that response of relevant authorities to these incidents so far has not been effective or timely.
Another trend of pre-election period is misuse of administrative resources, namely, mobilization of employees from organizations funded by the public funds to attend campaign meetings in support of the ruling party.
“Some municipalities actively amended their budgets. Although the Election Code prohibits any changes in budgets only after August 9, changes made before that allow launching of social and infrastructure projects during the campaigning period. Although not a violation of the Election Code, such practice poses a risk of using public financial resources to advance electoral goals.” –Says Mikheil Benidze, ISFED Executive Director.
During the reporting period ISFED found that budget changes were made and new social or infrastructural projects were launched on 7 different occasions based on problematic issues identified through the monitoring, ISFED issued recommendations to the CEC, Inter Agency Commission, Political Subjects, and local self-governments, ISFED conducts monitoring of the pre-election environment in all electoral districts of Georgia through its 68 long-term observers.