“The monitoring showed that the use of administrative resources for the parliamentary elections in the whole did not reach such scale to have a significant impact on the election environment. However, several noteworthy trends were identified,” the report of the Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) Transparency International (TI) Georgia reads.
Transparency International report on use of administrative resources
By Tea Mariamidze
Wednesday, December 7
The report, entitled 'Use of Administrative Resources for Georgia’s 2016 Parliamentary Elections', was published on December 6, and covers the period from June 8 to November 30, 2016.
At the presentation of the monitoring results, TI Georgia Program Manager Levan Natroshvili stated that the most frequent cases of administrative resources usage took place between the period of the first and the second run-offs.
“Cases of deliberate and considerable pressure on the voters, especially on the supporters of the opposition parties, became frequent. Several cases of illegal campaigning, including through social networks, were also observed,” Natroshvili stated.
Natroshvili also stressed that several cases were identified wherein people had problems at their jobs because they were supporters of the United National Movement (UNM) opposition party.
TI says that despite these facts, law enforcement agencies did not properly react to the cases.
The monitoring also revealed that released video and audio recordings, describing privacy of various political leaders had a negative impact on the election process.
“However, the law enforcement agencies could not manage to successfully complete investigation of any of such cases and were unable to prosecute authors and distributors of these recordings,” TI report reads.
The NGO also believes that advertising governmental activities and achievements through video clips and messages became intense in the period between the first and the second rounds of elections.
“It should be noted that the ruling party Georgian Dream used to mobilize people, employed in budgetary organizations, to the pre-election events,” the document reads.
The organization gives several recommendations to the government in order to eliminate use of administrative resources in the future, especially for the upcoming local elections, to be held next year.
TI recommends that law enforcement agencies to make greater efforts in order to properly investigate the alleged facts of the political pressure.
Moreover, the NGO says that the existing state regulations about financing political parties need to be revised and improved and free air time for political parties should be distributed more fairly.
TI calls on the leaders of budgetary organizations to refrain from the illegal involvement of civil servants in campaigning and respect their labor rights.
“State authorities should refrain from very active advertising of their pre-planned and implemented projects during the pre-election period. Both local and central government should not increase financing of social assistance programs during the election campaign,” the TI recommendations read.