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Civil Platform “No to Phobia!” Responds to the Pre-election Campaign of “Alliance of Patriots of Georgia”

08.09.2020

Civil Platform “No to Phobia!” expresses its concern about the xenophobic/Turkophobic rhetoric of the political party “Alliance of Patriots of Georgia” and states that the activities of the party contain signs feeding ethnic strife, which according to Article 23(3) of the Constitution of Georgia is prohibited.

It should be noted that during the pre-election period the video-advertisements containing anti-Turkish content have been spread on the Facebook page of the “Alliance of Patriots of Georgia”. The video-advertisements contained statements about the seizure of 33% of the territory of Georgia and the genocide of the Georgians as well as about the historical territorial conflict between Georgia and the Osman Empire. The information contained in the video presents the current reality and the history in a distorted form and thus aims at feeding the anti-Turkish sentiments and hatred in a society. The statements of the leaders of the political party serve the same aim. One should pay attention to the banner constructed in Adjara on which, Adjara like the occupied territory is colored in red and the following text is written on there: “Protect Adjara! Protect your part of Georgia”. It should also be noted hereby that such anti-constitutional actions are not new for “Alliance of Patriots of Georgia”, although, unfortunately, the state has not responded to them up to date. 

It should be noted that according to Article 23(3) of the Constitution of Georgia, “The establishment and activity of a political party that aims to overthrow or forcibly change the constitutional order of Georgia, infringe on the independence or violate the territorial integrity of the country, or that propagates the war or violence or incites national, ethic, provincial, religious or social strife, shall be inadmissible…” According to the Georgian legislation, performing the above-mentioned prohibited activities shall be the ground for the dissolution of a political party.

At the same time, according to Article 45(3) of the Election Code of Georgia, “…The election program shall not contain propaganda for war or violence, appeal for change or overthrow of the existing state and social order by violence, for violation of the territorial integrity of Georgia, for national strife and enmity, or for religious or ethnic confrontation.” In case of violation of these obligations, the Central Election Commission has the authority to impose the charges on the relevant political party and to fine it.

Thus, on the one hand, the Constitution of Georgia guarantees the freedom of expression and the right to form a political party, though, at the same time, the Constitution of Georgia and the Georgian legislation considers if permissible to prohibit/sanction a political party which infringes on and threatens the state sovereignty, the fundamental values guarded by the constitution and the basis of the Constitution of Georgia as a whole. This prohibition is closely connected to the concept of so-called defensive democracy (“militant democracy”), which implies that “the enemies of democracy should not be allowed to use the rights and freedoms of democracy to undermine it”.

The political parties enjoy the right to freedom of expression and have the right to express publicly their views, whether they are false or misleading, although, at the same time they are highly responsible not to use the political platform for confronting the different groups of society and for forming the new spots of conflict. The latter is especially dangerous in the Georgian reality.

Taking into consideration the above mentioned, we call upon:

  • The Central Election Commission, to study the pre-election materials used by the “Alliance of Patriots of Georgia” and to undertake the measures provided by the Georgian legislation:
  • The political parties, to respect the democratic values and perform the pre-election campaign taking into consideration the principle of equality.
  1. Georgian Democracy Initiative (GDI)
  2. Media Development Foundation (MDF)
  3. Institute for Democracy and Safe Development (IDSD)
  4. Sapari
  5. Georgia’s Reforms Associates (GRASS)
  6. Human Rights Center (HRC)
  7. Tolerance and Diversity Institute (TDI)
  8. Tbilisi Pride
  9. Equality Movement

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