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NGOs: Abuse of administrative resources still a problem

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Thursday, August 30
Georgian NGOs still blame the current Georgian leadership for the illegal use of administrative resources and the indirect bribing of voters.

The recent statement made by Transparency International Georgia touches upon the slogan of the United National Movement 'More Benefit to People' and emphasizes that with the slogan the ruling party imposes confusion in the voters and indirectly influences them.

The organization claims that in 2012, the government represented the state program 'More Benefit to People' and has carried out various social actions within the program that has been financed via the state budget.

“Despite the fact the above-mentioned program was created by the government, the current administration had chosen the program title as its slogan and had been registered as the United National Movement-More Benefit to People for the elections,” TI states.

The organizations explained that based on the Law on Political Unions, material and non- material values given in benefit to a political party is taken as a donation. “According to the fact that the National movement used the state program name which is the government’s slogan, it became difficult to differentiate the party and the government from each other,” the TI statement reads.

Thus, the organization concludes that the actions carried out through the state program might be taken as pre-election campaigning by the ruling party. “It is obvious that the popularization of the government program directly includes the popularization of the ruling party due to the similarity of slogans. The government did not draw a strict line between its own program and the ruling party,” the organization claims.

The organization underscored that according to the Law on Political Unions, making a donation to any political party is prohibited therefore the OSCE's Copenhagen document demands the strict division of political parties and the government.

The organization appealed to the United National Movement and the government to do their best to enable the voters to differentiate between government and the party actions.

Another NGO, the International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED), accuses the ruling party in the direct bribing of voters.

The issue concerns ruling party majoritarian candidate in Dusheti, Zurab Otiashvili, who based on the Mtskheta-Mtianeti information centre, gave 500 GEL to one of the voters. The organization claims that this fact is confirmed by Otiashvili, several eyewitnesses and the individual who took the money.

ISFED demands an immediate investigation into the incident.

The person who took this money from Otiashvili comes from a poor family and is blind. Based on the information centre, Otiashvili stated that he gave the money to a poor boy because he felt sorry for him and wanted to somehow help and the action was far from any political motivation, just purely a human action.

As for the TI accusations, neither the government nor the United National Movement has commented on the statement. The Messenger has tried to make contact with several representatives of the UNM, including the spokesperson of the party, Chiora Taktakishvili, but they did not respond to the call.