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Kindergarten Chairs Seek Supporters for Ruling Party

By Tea Mariamidze
Monday, October 9
Studio Monitor, an investigative journalism platform, has carried out a journalistic investigation, which allegedly revealed the facts of public servants’ engagement in the pre-election campaign.

Namely, journalists of the Studio Monitor called the principals of kindergartens as if from the Kindergarten Management Agency. The conversation shows that the principals confirmed information about gathering supporters for the ruling Georgian Dream (GD) party and then presenting the list to the Kindergarten Agency.

Later, the same principals rejected the conversation upon the elections and GD supporters.

The founder of Studio Monitor, Nino Zuriashvili, says the recordings of phone conversations are authentic and she expressed readiness to provide them to the law enforcement agencies upon request.

“Every recording is accompanied by the phone number we have called to, so we can present it to anyone who needs it,” she stated, adding that she believes many more people are involved in the process.

Zuriashvili said the recordings clearly demonstrate that the principals were commissioned to provide at least a 100-person list of GD supporters.

Deputy Head of the Kindergarten Management Agency, Nikoloz Todraze, stated he has not heard about such facts.

“We have distanced ourselves from the elections and I have no idea what GD has to do with us? Our job is to take care of children and construct new kindergartens and we are far away from any party instructions,” he stressed.

The Justice Minister of Georgia, Thea Tsulukiani, also made a comment about the engagement of civil servants in the election campaign.

She said the ministry has carried out the monitoring of kindergartens and schools and only a few cases of violations were revealed.

The minister added overall the election campaign is underway in a calm environment.

“I would like the civil servants to be completely neutralized by the October 21 elections, because the political parties should be strictly separated from the municipal authorities, from the central government and generally from the state," she stressed.

However, Tsulukiani also added that the civil servants have a right to engage in the election campaign during non-working hours.