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Supporting of non-Georgian citizens participating in election campaigning will face a fine”

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, August 10
The head of Georgia’s Central Election Commission (CEC), Tamar Zhvania, has released a special statement, saying those political parties or individuals who will support any type of participation of non-Georgian citizens or those having no citizenship in election campaigning, will face fines.

Zhvania made the statement in the wake of the address of the local Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), the Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association (GYLA), over the participation of Georgia’s ex-President, now a citizen of Ukraine, Mikheil Saakashvili, in the pre-election campaigning of the United National Movement (UNM) party.

The GYLA submitted an application to the CEC on August 1 and addressed the Commission to draw an administrative offence report, which entailed the imposition of a fine to the amount of 2.000 GEL, as Saakashvili made a video addressing UNM supporters in Georgia’s coastal city of Batumi on July 31.

Georgia’s ex-President, who left Georgia in 2013 and became a citizen of Ukraine in May 2015, made the address despite the fact the Election Code of Georgia deprived him, as a citizen of a foreign country, to do so.

Zhvania stated in response to the GYLA appeal that it was practically impossible to draft the administrative offence report to an individual who is not in Georgia, as Saakashvili has not been in the country since 2013 due to being charged with several alleged offences.

However, to prevent such violations, Zhvania stressed the CEC would discuss the amendment which would ensure the fining of any political parties or individuals who would make such speeches and participations publicly available for those people having no right to do so.

The CEC appealed to political players to refrain from committing this type and other electoral violations.