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Two Observers Dismissed for Falsification Attempts of Georgian Bar Association Elections

By Tea Mariamidze
Monday, December 11
(TBILISI)--Two observers were dismissed from an election commission for attempting to falsify the Georgian Bar Association (GBA) elections on Saturday.

Commission head Ivane Petriashvili said the two observers were caught by their colleagues while trying to throw bulletins into a ballot box.

In total, 12 candidates were running for the chairmanship of the Georgian Bar Association. The majority of voters supported David Asatiani who is leading with 1,128votes, followed by Levan Janashia with 632 votes and 160 votes cast for David Lanchava.

A fourth candidate, Irma Chkadua, accused Asatiani of trying to rig the elections, because the two dismissed commission members were his supporters.

Asatiani is the favored candidate of acting GBA Chair, Zaza Khatiashvili, who has openly supported him.

Several other candidates criticized Khatiashvili during the pre-election period for his open calls to lawyers to throw their support behind his chosen candidate, accusations that Khatiashvili flatly rejected and pointed to the fact that Asatiani received an overwhelming majority of votes.

Asatiani claims he’s received “unprecedented support” after garnering more votes than the other 11 candidates combined. He, along with Khatiashvili, believes a run-off should be held in the coming weeks.

“If a second round takes place, I am sure I will win again,” said Asatiani.

The Georgian Bar Association counts 4,970 lawyers as members. Only 2,324 participated in the elections on December 9. The candidate who receives more than 50% of votes will become the GBA Chair.