Various violations reported
By Mzia Kupunia
Monday, May 31Various political parties reported electoral violations on polling day. The Alliance for Georgia reported that in some election precincts in the Didube and Nadzaladevi districts the sample bulletins posted on the walls to guide electors had the number 5, the ruling United National Movement's number on the ballot papers, circled. This it called an example of “indirect agitation” in contravention of the Election Code. Alliance members also told journalists that in precinct number 6 in Samgori district all local electoral commission members were deprived of their mobile phones to prevent them taking photos and videos of possible violations as the Election Code entitles them to do.
Canvassing outside polling stations was one of the most reported violations. Christian-Democratic Movement (CDM) members alleged that National Movement representatives had been seen calling on voters already at the polling stations to vote for the ruling party. The Christian-Democrats said that Alliance for Georgia candidate Sopo Khorguani had also violated the Election Code by canvassing in this way at Krtsanisi number 30 election precinct. Meanwhile another opposition party, the Public Democrats, accused the CDM of similar canvassing at precinct number 32, where members of the CDM wrote the number 10 on the wall in front of the building. The Public Democrats also claimed that CDM members were delivering their election leaflets during the poll.
Another violation reported was dead people appearing in the voters lists. The Public Democrats' Davit Tamazashvili said that 13 dead people’s names had been found in the list of those due to vote at the 31st election precinct in Tbilisi. Voter Ekaterine Oniani told the media that she had found the name of her father, who died 12 years ago, in the election list at precinct 31.
Opposition parties and NGO’s observing the elections also pointed out violations of confidentiality during voting. Georgian Young Lawyers Association members claimed that cameras were installed in Tbilisi, Kutaisi and Batumi polling stations despite the fact that the voting booths were open. “This could violate the secrecy of the voting,” Tamar Khidasheli of GYLA said at a special press briefing. Khidasheli also commented on the statement of National Movement MP Pavle Kublashvili that ruling party activists would record who had voted for them outside the polling stations. She noted that this is a violation of the constitutional principle of the secret ballot and contradicts the Election Code, which prohibits any kind of restriction on voter’s freedom to vote freely.
The Movement for Fair Georgia claimed that the ruling party had “rigged” the election by using two main methods. Lado Bozhadze from the Movement said at a special press conference that in many cases voters' hands were marked with water, not special ink, giving them the chance to vote several times, and that voters were being intimidated. “Starting from last night, secret and open phone calls have been made threatening opposition candidates and opposition members of the electoral commissions, telling them not to go to the polling stations on election day,” he said.
National Movement officials dismissed the allegations of opponents and NGOs, calling on them to inform the “relevant institutions” of any violations of the election code. MP Goka Gabashvili commented on the claims of the Movement for Fair Georgia. “If they have any specific and real information, they should apply to the CEC or the inter-factional group and ask that relevant action be taken. We, on our side, will react to every specific violation. If the political parties are just using these statements for propaganda purposes there is no need to comment,” Gabashvili added.