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Compiled by Ana Robakidze
Monday, August 27
Inconsistencies in legal practice during election period highlighted by NGO

Newspapaer Rezonansi reads that even though the European Council, OPSCE and now an American NGO has expressed their concerns regarding voters lists, fines and supremacy of law in the country, the Georgian Government has still refrained from making any comments on these issues.

On Friday, a press conference was held by the Committee for Open Democracy, where Terry Benhem, an expert and one of the representatives of the organization, addressed a number of current problems with regard to the ongoing election process in the country.

“Tens of international organizations are talking about the same problems in Georgia. The largest international organizations point out the inaccuracies of the voters’ lists, the sizes of political fines and the arbitrary implementation of laws, says Benhem. He also presented several photos depicting number of ruined buildings in Tbilisi, where about one-hundred voters were registered according to the lists provided by the Central Election Commission. Benhem also expressed his hope that these aforementioned inaccuracies have been amended in the new lists.

Benhem also mentioned that imposing exaggerated fines and the selective strengthening of the law has become common place lately. New regulations regarding the advertising campaign have been launched just recently, which makes this step suspicious. Changes could have been made based on political motivations.

Terry Benhem assured the audience that his goal while being in the country is not to criticize representatives of government or the opposition, but to provide advice to political parties.

Were Kutaisi transport department workers forced to wear political attire?

The chief expert for the Kutaisi City Hall Transport Department, David Kbilashvili, categorically rejected the fact that drivers were forced to wear UNM t-shirts. He informed Pirveli that none of the drivers have ever been asked to do something like that.

“If the drivers have really complained that they were asked to wear UNM t-shirts, this is just demagogy and nothing more,” Kbilashvili said. He also mentioned that if one of the drivers wants to openly support the UNM and put on their t-shirt, the transport department cannot refuse.

Drivers working within public transport in Kutaisi also accused dispatchers of forcing them to wear UNM t-shirts; in the case they refused, they would lose their jobs.

“My dispatcher told me to put on a t-shirt with the UNM logo on it, as this was an order from the transport department. I never wanted to wear it, but I have no choice, anything is better than staying at home without a job,” said one of the drivers. “The whole city is supporting the Georgian Dream movement and I am forced to wear a t-shirt with a UNM logo on it,” replied another. ”