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One, negative election ‘inheritance’

By Messenger Staff
Monday, October 23
Georgia’s Public Defender and almost all the local observing missions stated that the October 21 municipal elections were mainly calm and no major violations were observed.

However, almost all of them mentioned one “permanent characteristic” of the Georgian elections, referring to the mobilisation of some party supporters at the polling stations, observing and writing down the names of voters appearing at the scene.

The Ombudsman believed that this could be considered as anindirect pressure on voters and appealed to the Central Election Commission (CEC) to take appropriate measures, despite the fact the CEC did not consider such an assembly as the violation of law.

Transparency International Georgia, which also assessed the elections as mostly calm, stated that there were incidents when different party observers tried to identify voters through their list numbers.

The Georgian Young Lawyers Association (GYLA)also reported that the elections were mostly calm and announced that they wrote complaints about the violation of observers’ rights, problems over voters’ lists, violation of the voting conspiracy and assembling of party supporters at election districts.

Despite the fact that the gathering of some party supporters might not be violation of any law, the CEC should take certain measures to end this negative “inheritance,” which has been prevalent in the course of Georgian elections for many years.

If such a gathering is for ‘nothing,’ there would not be party supporters with some papers in their hands at the entrance of the polling stations.

One such supporter told TheMessenger confidentially that he had a list of some supporters who gave a promise to the party to come to the elections and vote for them.

He said his task was to mark the people in the list who “kept the promise”.

Such actions can fairly be considered as constituting political pressure or influencing voters.

More steps to increase public awareness that it’s their right not to inform for whom they vote might settle the problem that observers consistently mention.