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NGOs and observers report multiple violations

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Tuesday, October 2
The Central Election Commission claims that the parliamentary elections of 2012 were held without serious violations. However, NGOs and observers have already reported multiple violations detected during the elections.

According to the CEC, the elections were held “in a peaceful environment” and shortcomings have been eradicated swiftly.

However, Eka Azarashvili, spokesperson for the CEC, also highlighted some difficulties and violations. According to her, a representative of a political subject interfered in the work of the precinct commission and obstructed its members in fulfilling their duties. Azarashvili also highlighted that the election process was disturbed in the Bucharest street election district “because of the absence of two members of the election commission who reported health related problems.” She also noted that the chair of the Rustavi N 16 polling station was physically abused and he could not carry out his function and the voters’ list was stolen from the Martvili N 3 polling station. Azarashvili also underscored that there were some problems concerning the registration seal in certain polling stations in Sachkhere.

NGOs listed those violations that occurred during the voting period. ISFED reported on serious violations at one of the precincts of Akhalkalaki in the Samtskhe-Javakheti region where voters were casting ballots without providing their ID cards; precinct commission members were agitating in favor of the ruling party and were openly dictating to circle N 5 to the voters. The NGO also mentioned that the registrars were themselves marking an election subject on ballot papers before giving them to voters.

Monitors representing the GYLA have observed problems related to inking at several election precincts. According to the organization, the liquid was unstable and in certain cases, marks were not visible when exposed to ultraviolet light.

The following were the types of problems revealed with respect to inking:

• Marks were not visible despite exposure to ultraviolet light several times (precinct N91 in Saburtalo, precinct N24 in Krtsanisi);

• The liquid was of poor quality and leaves a mark only after the bottle is shaken powerfully (precinct N55 in Nadzaladevi, precinct N8 in Batumi);

• Marks were not visible when ink is applied on top of nail varnish (precinct N8 in Kobuleti, precinct N41 in Nadzaladevi).

An observer from the Human Rights Center (HRC) observed several violations in polling station N 28 in the Marneuli Election District where there are 1, 123 voters registered, but only 900 ballot papers were delivered there.

“To verify the information, HRC’s observer asked chairwoman of the PEC Nana Gvazava to hand him a copy of the receipt of acceptance protocol, but she refused. The chairwoman said it was only her “property.”

The blatant violation of voters’ rights was observed in this polling station by the organization. Namely, every voter requested assistance in the cabin and another voter accompanied them into the cabin and indicates him/her to mark election number 5 on the ballot paper.

“Not only voters but commission member Natela Chankseliani was also intimidated; she is a registration clerk at the polling station. Together with observers, Chankseliani opposed commission members because they directly suggested voters to mark number 5 on the paper. Consequently, she was rebuked by the commission chairwoman and other commission members. When the registrar repeatedly protested the violations, CEC representatives from the DEC arrived at the precinct and warned her: “Unless you stop complaining, I will dismiss you from here!” HRC reports.

Human Rights Center observer, Gela Mtivlishvili, found documents from the closed base of electronic data of the MIA at the N 5 polling station in the village of Duisi, Pankisi gorge- Kakheti information centre informs. Mtivlishvili managed to take 22 documents to present to the Akhmeta district-election commission.

Maestro TV reported that representatives of National Movement had some hundreds of such documents. After journalists obtained the documents, representative of the National Movement at the polling station in Duisi, Merab Kavtarashvili, accused journalists of bringing the document to the polling building to stage a provocation.

Former officer of the MIA Zurab Udzilauri confirms that the documents are from MIA electronic data and are available only to MIA- Kakheti iInformation Centre reports.

According to the Voters’ League, an incident took place at the Kazbegi N 1 precinct. The organization reports that a great number of people were brought to the precinct which, based on the locals, were not residents of the area. This fact created confrontation and the precinct was temporally closed.

Procedural violations, attempts of voting several times with falsified IDs, and attempts of so called “roundabout” have been detected by various NGOs and observers.

The observers also spoke on “serious mobilization” of National Movement’s activists which were standing at the precincts and were writing down the names who were coming to vote. Those individuals did not respond to the questions to which political parties’ they belonged to and what was the aim of their action. The observers also frequently emphasized that there were some problems concerning the quantity of the ballot papers and that very often less number of ballot papers were provided than there were number of registered voters.

Spokesperson of the UNM, Chiora Taktakishvili, commented on the mobilization issue and underscored that no violation took place in this regard.

“We have identified our supporters during the door to door campaign, so we conduct the campaign of inviting them to come to elections. We conduct this campaign to avoid incidents from the coalition Georgian Dream. We gave indications to the invitation campaign participants to stand at a reasonable distance from the polling station,” Taktakishvili explained.

CEC commented on ballot papers. Based on the body the difference between the number of voters on the voters' list and the number of ballot papers is caused by the fact that some voters will be voting abroad, are in the army. Ballot papers of those voters who have a note against their names – 'being on the consular registry', or 'being on military service' are sent to these locations.

The NGOs also spoke on more pressure on the observers this year compared to former elections. According to Elections and Political Technologies Research Centre, Kakha Kakhishvili, an observer was dismissed from # 91 precinct of 32 election district only for the reason that he was going to write an appeal regarding that the ballot paper with circled no 5 was taken from outside to put in the ballot box.

Only GYLA, for 6 o’clock has written more than 100 remarks and appeals concerning violations.

Chiora Taktakishvili, spokesperson of The United National Movement also spoke on violations and stated that the two supporters of the party have been beaten by the coalition representative, Luka Kurtanidze. However, the information was denied by Kurtanidze.

The coalition Georgian Dream has reported almost all above mentioned violations during the day. At the end of the day spokesperson of the coalition, Maia Panjikidze made a special statement. She has informed that policemen and special units have been mobilized at all polling stations of Svaneti and in Gldani district in Tbilisi, as well.

“The special unit also came to Gldani # 8 prison and the inmates are asking for help,” Panjikidze stated and emphasized that the coalition will inform all international observing missions regarding the violations,” Panjikidze said.