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NGOs Identify Alleged Cases of Vote Bribery by Ruling Party

By Khatia Bzhalava
Friday, July 22, 2022
Georgian NGOs ISFED and Transparency International have published a survey, according to which, a large-scale scheme of mobilizing votes in favor of the ruling party in illegal ways was identified, which is ‘highly likely to prove’ the use of state agencies (including law enforcement agencies) for election/party purposes. The survey was prepared based on the documents provided by Soso Gogashvili, the former deputy head of the Security Service.

As the non-governmental organizations note, personal information about employees of budgetary organizations and other citizens was allegedly collected through these agencies, supposedly in order to put pressure on them in the future. It is also stressed in the survey that in exchange for support in the elections, citizens were provided with pre-requested benefits through various state agencies.

Based on the scale of the complete scheme, the NGOs assume that as a result of interfering in the election process with these methods, it was possible to mobilize votes in favor of the ruling party on a large scale.

“More specifically, the representatives of the ruling party, using the services of various state agencies, allegedly offered specific persons the cancellation of probation, early release from the penitentiary institution, reinstatement of suspended/confiscated driving rights, reduction of charges (requalification) in ongoing criminal cases, improvement of the conditions of serving the sentence, postponing of military conscription, etc.” the NGOs note.

Based on the information requested from the National Probation Agency, the NGOs state that during the 2018 presidential election period, the number of people who had their probation revoked and their driving privileges restored increased significantly.

Per the document, the ruling party, together with the SSG, also compiled political dossiers of employees in budgetary organizations, as well as directors of public schools and educational resource centers, and made personnel-related policy decisions on that basis.

The survey reads that the presented circumstances have been verified as far as possible and are also confirmed by the proven facts mentioned in the stories published in the media.