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NGOs concerned about street rallies

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Friday, October 5
Georgian NGO's the Young Lawyers’ Association, (GYLA) Transparency International Georgia (TI) and International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED) released a joint statement concerning the post-election situation in the country on October 4th.

The NGOs stated that district election commissions are addressing various complaints made on the Election Day. According to the NGO's statement some political parties’ supporters are demonstrating outside various election commission buildings, demanding that results in certain districts be either checked again or annulled.

“Rallies are ongoing in Martvili, Senaki, Terjola. Ambrolauri, Sighnaghi, Dedoplistskaro, Lagodekhi, Akhalkalaki, Akhaltsikhe, Marneuli and Tetritskharo. In some cases the protesters are aggressive and our observers have been pressured.” the NGO's statement reads.

The NGOs stated that the election commissions should respond adequately to the accusations of electoral fraud by recounting all ballots cast and that political parties should appeal to their supporters to refrain from gathering in front of administrative buildings.

“As the disputes should be solved in court,” the NGOs statement reads.

The NGOs also “reminded” the Central Election Commission (CEC) of its rights.

According to the NGO's statement the CEC has the right to abolish the outcomes of election districts if there is significant evidence of electoral fraud.

“The CEC should use this right concerning the Sighnaghi election district. Refraining from intervention might further irritate activists,” the statement reads.

The NGOs also appealed to all sides to report violations so accusations could be responded to in a "timely and effective manner".

Acting Parliament Speaker Davit Bakradze has called on the Georgian Dream coalition to stop pressuring the election commissions.

Bakradze added that the court is where such issues should be discussed and solved.

“We have already given an example to the coalition how to respect people’s choices and we call on them to do the same and behave in a civilized manner,” Bakradze said.

Georgian Dream leader Bidzina Ivanishvili has also called on Georgian Dream supporters to stop rallies.

“Europe and the USA are concerned. We should not hold street rallies any more. We are already in the government; we need maximum one month for technical procedures, after which we will form a new government,” Ivanishvili stated.

The coalition leader also shared the attitude that disputes should be solved in the appropriate institutions.

“Georgians have already expressed braveness and now it is our term,” Ivanishvili said.

Meanwhile, a street rally was held in Zugdidi where Georgian Dream supporters were protesting UNM majoritarian candidate Roland Akhalaia's win, calling on the Zugdidi election commission to annul the result.

Georgian Dream candidate for Zugdidi Irakli Alasania appeared at the rally and called on the protesters to move their protest elsewhere as it was disturbing the work of the district election commission. The protesters cooperated with Alasania's request.

Akalaia has stated that he has been intimidated and threatened by Alasania and his supporters. According to the UNM candidate Alasania threatened him with arrest.

The US ambassador to Georgia, Richard Norland also attended the rally and then he moved to the district election commission of Zugdidi. According to him he came to Zugdidi with the status of observer.

According to the Ambassador Zugdidi is a specific area with specific dynamics and his being in the commission would make professionals working there to work freely without pressure.