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Georgian Opposition Claims Central Election Commission is Building a Hotel in HQ

By Tea Mariamidze
Thursday, November 23
(TBILISI) -- Georgia’s Central Election Commission (CEC) announced that it will create a 26-room hotel-style dormitory in its multi-story headquarters in central Tbilisi, the country’s main opposition party the United National Movement (UNM), said in a statement Wednesday.

The UNM claims the CEC will be the country’s first government body to open a residency for employees.

Construction works have already been launched on the sixth floor of CEC’s 800 square meter building.

Rustavi-2, which is often labeled a pro-opposition TV network, recently reported that the cost of renovating the building has already hit 424,000 GEL ($156,000) from the state budget.

Additional funding will also be allocated from the state budget for the furnishing the new hotel’s rooms.

The head of the financial office of the CEC, Otar Buskivadze, claims the administration is not building a hotel, but a training center with sleeping arrangements, for those who stay overnight in Tbilisi.

“Our employees will be able to undergo various trainings in our new training center and improve their qualifications. People from the regions will be able to stay overnight...The claims that we are building a hotel are completely false,” said Buskivadze.

The UNM claims the CEC is spending state budget for their luxury.

Giorgi Abuladze, the winner of a tender to renovate the building appeared to confirm the reports in an interview with Rustavi-2.

“We won the tender and are now constructing a 26-room hotel for CEC regional members,” he told Rustavi-2.

The UNM extended their allegations that the CEC is misusing state funds by accusing the commission’s head, Tamar Zhvania, of skimming off the top by handing out “extremely high salaries and bonuses”.

Zhvania reportedly received 22,000 GEL ($8,100) as remuneration in October, alone, after the local elections. Official documents reveal that she was paid 11,000 GEL as a salary and 11,000 more as a bonus for her work.

After the 2016 parliamentary elections, Zhvania received 27,500 GEL ($10,100) for her work.