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Monday, May 17
Zurab Kharatishvili: If the names of 1,000 citizens who should not be in the lists are presented I will resign at once

"We stand or fall on our transparency and liability to the public. We endeavour to make sure that all interested parties are maximally involved in the election process and have full information. We have set up special teams to address major issues identified at previous elections," Zurab Kharatishvili, Chair of the Central Election Commission (CEC) states in an interview with Versia.

"We have personal relations with the various parties. We post information which might be interesting for the public on our website. We have compiled a registry of complaints – every complaint is posted on the website and can be analysed. Our legislation states that political groups and NGOs can file complaints, and unfortunately ordinary citizens do not have much opportunity to get involved in this process, so I think the law should ensure the greater involvement of the public. The CEC will raise the question of working on such legislation in due course," Kharatishvili continues.

"We have paid special attention to the questions raised by the political parties about dead, duplicated and omitted electors being on the list. The Civil Registry is working on this. The question of the duplicated electors is exhausted,” Kharatishvili adds.

"We are neither China nor India, and cannot omit 1 million people. The politicians’ statements, with their inflated figures, should be on their consciences. If the names of 1,000 citizens who should not be in the lists are presented I will resign at once. We have identified 300 citizens who do not live where they are registered. According to the law, they should vote where they are registered," Kharatishvili concludes.

Tsotne Gamsakhurdia on hunger strike again

Rezonansi reports that Tsotne Gamsakhurdia, son of former President Zviad Gamsakhurdia, began a new total hunger strike 12 days ago. His advocate Keti Bekauri says that his health has deteriorated.

Tsotne Gamsakhurdia announced his indefinite hunger strike on May 3 in protest at the beating of prisoner Tariel Sakvarelidze by chief of the prison Giorgi Butliashvili and the inhuman treatment of all the prisoners there. Bekauri says that Sakvarelidze disappeared after Gamsakhurdia began the hunger strike. “He started it as a sign of protest. He started it after witnessing the merciless beating of mentally ill prisoner. Gamsakhurdia filed a complaint about the incident but it had been ignored. That is a breach of the law,” Bekauri says. However this information is not confirmed by the Ministry of Corrections and Legal Assistance.

Gamsakhurdia’s advocate says that on one occasion she and Tsotne’s mother were not allowed to see him. Manana Archvadze-Gamsakhurdia addressed Parliament Speaker David Bakradze, who took the issue under his control. "As a result I met with Tsotne Gamsakhurdia in his cell", Bekauri adds.

“Tsotne Gamsakhurdia says that members of the prison administration entered the cell and took away personal things on May 4. Among these were a pen, eyeglasses and communion bread presented by the Patriarch. He is in complete isolation," says Bekauri, However Tea Sukhishvili, head of the Press Service of the Ministry of Corrections and Legal Assistance, says that "No one would ever take anything from him. Maybe he expressed a desire to take his food away because he is on hunger strike, but he has his things in his cell.”