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Double standards?

By Tea Mariamidze
Monday, June 9
The United National Movement claims that the Central Election Commission is being controlled by the Georgian Dream. The party members made the statement in terms of the UNM candidate in Marneuli, who has been recently removed from the candidates’ list.

Akhmed Imamkuliyev is the UNM candidate on the governor’s post in the Marneuli region. Several days ago, a local election administration body removed his candidacy, as, according to them, the candidate failed to meet certain criteria. The body stated that the individual has not lived in Georgia during the last two years, which is one of the major requirements of the election code.

The UNM appealed the decision to the Central Election Commission. However, the CEC voted eight votes out of 13 against, so the decision was unchanged.

Member of the UNM Khatuna Gogorishvili claims that even the Parliament Chair Davit Usupashvili wanted Imamkuliyev’s candidacy to be removed, as the candidate enjoys a high rating in the region.

“It was the demand of the Prime Minister for only the coalition members to win. The CEC supports the claims of the current government,” the UNM statement reads.

The UNM also states that two members of the coalition were not removed from the list despite the fact they did not meet the same criteria.

Responding to the accusations, CEC chairperson Tamar Zhvania stated that the UNM candidate failed to meet the criteria on living in Georgia the last two years. Zhvania admitted that she and her deputies were unanimous concerning the coalition candidates as well. However, other members of the CEC made a different choice.

Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili responded to the fact, stating that the UNM is trying to cause unrest during pre-election period. Gharibashvili stated that the current government will hold transparent elections and will not allow any type of destabilization in the country.

The co-rapporteurs of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) for the monitoring of Georgia, Michael Aastrup Jensen (Denmark, ALDE) and Boriss Cilevics (Latvia, SOC), expressed their concern about the pattern and number of opposition candidates in the local elections who have withdrawn their candidature, allegedly under pressure. They called upon the authorities to swiftly and transparently investigate these allegations and to take immediate remedial action if these are proved to be grounded. “It is clear that the withdrawal of candidates for an election under pressure has no place in a democratic society, and it would be unacceptable if that had taken place”, said the co-rapporteurs. The rapporteurs will present their draft report on the functioning of democratic institutions to the Monitoring Committee during the Assembly’s Summer Session (23-27 June 2014).