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NGO modifies political behavior document

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Monday, August 20
The public movement ‘It Affects You’ presented a new version of the document that focuses on the behavior of political parties during the pre-election period on August 18. The movement claims that readiness has been expressed by the political parties to sign the document. However, they are demanding some corrections within the text.

The main points of the modified document are as follows: violations and destructive actions are to be condemned by political parties and in the case that violations do occur, the appropriate measures will be carried out; political parties should refrain from disturbing other political party campaigns; political parties should ensure beforehand that they inform the media and society concerning planned activities; political parties should not be involved in the actions of observing missions and should not disturb their activity. Political parties should not attempt to bribe the voters and should obey other obligations established by the election law; political parties should encourage the formation of high political culture in the country, place more of an emphasis on thematic political debates and enable people to make informed choices; do not encourage any kind of destabilization on the election date; do not disturb the media; enable equal conditions for all media outlets and ensure availability of diverse information.

The two points the public movement pays attention to the most is the usage of administrative resources and the actions of the State Audit Agency.

“Political parties should not use administrative resources or budgetary funds through the individuals holding posts in the state structures; the State Audit Agency should not restrict the rights of only some political parties and should be more focused on the prevention of violations rather than undertaking punitive actions,” the statement reads.

The movement frequently emphasizes the fact that administrative resources might be used by a single political party (United National Movement), as the other political parties lack access to the state’s budgetary funds.

Based on the importance of the issue the Central Election Commission, Georgia’s Interagency Task Force and 7 NGOs (Transparency International Georgia, Young Lawyers’ Association, Elections and Political Technologies Research Centre, ISFED, New Generation New Initiative and others) have signed a mutual understanding memorandum.

The memorandum was adopted through the permanent working meetings of the election administration and the above mentioned NGOs. The meetings were organized by IFES.

“The memorandum is one more guarantee of free elections, as the sides that have signed the document will be guide through the principles reflected in the memorandum while discussing the usage of administrative resources for equal conditions to be ensured for all political directions while the election,” the signers stated.

Georgia’s Interagency Task Force also provided recommendations to local administrations and state agencies concerning the misuse of administrative resources.

The recommendations were prepared after the Interagency Task Force had been informed about several instances where election campaign posters and the electoral numbers of the ruling party were being posted in state offices.

The IATF considered the action as a misuse of administrative resources during the electoral campaign. This violation of electoral legislation is punishable by a fine of up to 2,000 GEL. It must be noted that it is within the competence of the CEC to draw up administrative violation protocol.

The IATF recommends that local administrations and state agencies remind their employees immediately that posting party symbols in the offices of local administrations and national agencies violates electoral legislation.

The United National Movement, which is often blamed in the use of such resources– both by opponents and NGOs, states that it does its best to mitigate any implication of such action.