Prepared by Christina Tashkevich
Tuesday, January 8
“Serious violations revealed in Isani-Samgori”
Akhali Taoba reports that serious violations took place at the 87th precinct of Isani district in Tbilisi. The paper reports that the Central Election Commission (CEC) did not provide the precinct with plebiscite ballots.
Voters, observers and opposition party members reportedly protested the presence of policemen outside precincts 58, 63, 67, 68, and 6 in Samgori district. Representatives of the Georgian Association of Young Lawyers said the 55th article of election law prohibits the police from the vicinity of election precincts, unless it is specifically to restore public order.
Serious violations have also been reported at 29 and 30th precincts of Ponichala suburb of Tbilisi.
“Members of the CEC demanded voters to vote for Saakashvili at these precincts. At the same time they tore up our complaints. Commission members also destroyed the ballots with other candidates’ votes,” said Tina Khidasheli of the opposition Republican Party.
“Hereti journalists threatened”
Akhali Taoba reports that Radio Hereti has asked the Human Rights Ombudsman’s Office to look into the case of one of its journalist, Khatuna Gogashvili.
Hereti claims Gogashvili was assaulted by ruling party MP Isako Tskipurishvili while covering the January 5 elections. The journalist said Tskipurishvili and several intoxicated men took her tape recorder and threatened her with violence in Lagodekhi district. Hereti said Tskipurishvili was retaliating after the radio station aired tape recordings that appear to show him offering them a bribe to stop covering opposition candidates’ election campaigns. He also allegedly threatened to shut the station down. Hereti claims other journalists have been threatened too.
“Gelbakhiani hiding in Minsk?”
Sources purportedly close to Valeri Gelbakhiani, a former representative of businessman Badri Patarkatsishvili’s presidential bid, told Alia he may be hiding in Minsk, Belarus. A source claims Gelbakhiani went first to London and then to Minsk, taking his family with him.
The paper claims that a Georgian working in the Belarus Ministry of Internal Affairs spotted Gelbakhiani when he reported a robbery.
“A few days ago his apartment in Minsk was robbed. Thieves have taken EUR 10 000,” a source told the newspaper. “A Georgian is working in Belarus Ministry of Internal Affairs. Gelbakhiani asked him to investigate the [robbery] case; however, he did not reveal his name.”
Gelbakhiani is apparently trying to get to Moscow.
“It’s not a problem as Belarus has an open border with Russia,” a source told Alia.
The paper contacted Gocha Jojua from Badri Patarkatsishvili’s headquarters to check the information.
“I have no information about where Valeri is and I’m not really interested,” Jojua told the paper.
“Government and opposition pressure CEC”
Akhali Taoba reports that political expert Temur Iakobashvili has criticized public reaction to exit polls results.
“Before any official results one side has already started to celebrate and another side has already cried over the loss,” he said.
Iakobashvili added that both the government and opposition put pressure on the CEC for results to be in their favor, commenting that neither side has demonstrated much responsibility.
“It’s impossible to decide everything in Georgia on the streets, with flags, by protests and concerts. If we want a normal country, everyone should wait for the official results. If the results should be protested, we’ll protest, but let’s stop speculating about exit polls done by professionals,” he said.