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Pre-election rules

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Tuesday, September 18
The public movement It Affects You explained the rules consisting of 19 points. The movement has appealed to all political parties to sign the document and obey the rules outlined in the document.

The United National Movement (UNM) has stated that the Georgian Dream has refused to follow the rules. According to majority representatives, the reason behind the refusal might be due to the coalition's preparation for initiating post-election protests in the country.

“On July 23, the coalition expressed its readiness to collect the document proposed by It Affects You. On August 6 we agreed to the corrected version of the document where the National Movement’s initiatives were reflected as well. On August 30 we published an appeal demanding that the situation be monitored by international bodies for compliance on behalf of all parties. On September 17 the coalition stated again that will obey the rules set out by It Affects You and will recognize the legitimacy of the elections which will have been confirmed by influential international organizations,” the coalition's statement reads.

The coalition claims that the UNM has refused to gather the final version of the document and currently the UNM is trying to hide this fact.

The coalition also emphasized that the UNM is continuously violating the rules and appealed to international observer organizations to react in a timely fashion to these violations.

“We are ready to collaborate with all organizations and provide proof of the violations,” the statement reads.

Head of Transparency International Georgia and Eka Gigauri from the It Affects You movement told The Messenger there was a readiness on behalf of all political parties to adhere to the rules of the document.

“It is a quite comic situation; no one was against the document, however, none of the parties expressed the willingness and effort to sit together and agree on it. We have done our job; we have explained the document and considered the views of all the parties. However, we could not force them to sit and agree,” Gigauri stated.

The final rules adopted through the It Affects You movement consist of three subtitles: how should the signatory political parties behave, how should the government agencies act and how should the State Audit Agency behave.

The first subtitle includes several points:

1. Prevent aggressive and destructive activities from being exercised or encouraged by supporters, and ensure that [party] activists conduct the campaign in conformity with political ethics and carry out adequate measures against transgressors;

2. Reject violence during the election campaign, as well as the obstruction of another party’s campaign and actions, including through mobilizing activists and planning parallel actions; avoid aggression during meetings and communication with the electorate; forbid appeals to violence and the use of hate speech, especially in regards to minorities;

3. Ensure advance notification of the public and relevant services regarding planned party events;

4. Prevent interference into the activities of observer organizations and attempts to discredit them;

5. Refrain from bribing voters and adhere to all pertinent requirements established by the election legislation;

6. Refrain from the abuse of administrative resources, including budget resources, through the use of persons employed in the public sector or the authority concentrated in state agencies;

7. Support the promotion of high political culture as well as place ultimate emphasis on thematic debates on political issues, and by doing so; provide voters the possibility to make an informed choice;

8. Forbid the encouragement of violence and aggression on Election Day, including through the preliminary mobilization of supporters, which can bring about riots and destabilization on Election Day;

9. Ensure equal working conditions for all media outlets to cover party events; prevent exercising pressure on journalists as well as impeding their activities;

10. Avoid abusing media outlets for campaigning purposes or to misinform citizens; help to defuse tensions and confrontations between media outlets.

The signatory government agencies, shall:

1. Act only in accordance with the requirements of the law and in full compliance with political neutrality;

2. Ensure equal and fair treatment to all political subjects;

3. Avoid selective justice or discriminatory approaches to different political subjects;

4. Prevent any attempts to disrupt journalists’ activities; ensure equal working conditions for all registered media representatives in state and local self-government bodies, as well as at public events;

5. Ensure in all possible and legitimate ways the publics' access to a variety of information sources, which also implies unrestricted provision of TV channels on Election Day as well as in the subsequent period.

The State Audit Office shall:

1. Ensure the implementation of its functions under the legislation in such a manner as to prevent discriminatory restrictions on the financial activities of separate political parties;

2. Along with other investigatory bodies put greater emphasis on the prevention of violations rather than on punishing offenders;

3. Encourage political parties to implement the law, including through preliminary consultations– especially in terms of receiving funding.

All the political parties which sign the document will recognize the results of the elections held in conformity with the above terms, summarized in line with the procedures established by the legislation and deemed legitimate by observer organizations with credible reputation.