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Prosecutorís Office says no violations occurred during Sagarejo by-elections

By Messenger Staff
Thursday, March 24
The Georgian Chief Prosecutorís Office says no violations from high-ranking officials were revealed during the last year Sagarejo by-elections.

The Office launched an investigation into the case after one wing of the ruling Georgian Dream (GD) coalition accused another of rigging the elections.

In particular, the head of the Industrial Party within GD coalition, Gogi Topadze, blamed the current Minister of Defence from the Republican Party, Tinatin Khidasheli, for participating in rigging the elections by providing a large number of soldiers at the polling stations.

Topadze said an illegal number of soldiers voted for GD's candidate in Sagarejo.

Previously, Khidasheli was Sagarego's majoritarian MP, but she was appointed as the Defence Minister which triggered the by-election.

The accusations stirred controversy within the coalition and strong statements from the Prime Minister to both sides to ensure peace.

Khidasheli said the accusations stood far from reality.

Georgiaís Chief Prosecutor Irakli Shotadze has stated Khidasheli had not been questioned over the accusations.

According to him, all involved persons were being questioned by the investigation.

"In this case, all necessary investigative actions are being carried out. All persons that were suspected of being involved in the case have been questioned. Therefore, since there were no signs of a crime, the investigation has been terminated. The Defence Minister has not been questioned, simply because it was not necessary,Ē Shotadze said.

The Prosecutorís Office said that in order to conduct a comprehensive investigation, a series of investigational/procedural activities have been carried out; approximately 30 witnesses were questioned, including the regional and district election commission members, and a full disclosure of information about the Sagarejo elections was requested from the Ministry of Defence of Georgia and the Central Election Committee of Georgia, as well as the judgments of the Court of First Instance and the Court of Appeals, regarding the legality of the election results.