14:58, Tuesday, 22.05.2018
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The Human Rights Center Published Mid-Term Report on Municipal Elections

 Nini Gelashvili

The Human Rights Center finished working on the mid-term report on municipal elections. With the financial support of the Foundation “Open Society-Georgia” the Human Rights Center monitored the elections in Samegrelo Zemo-Svaneti and Kakheti regions on May 30.

According to the report, the following violations were observed on the Election Day: bad situation and lack of election equipment in polling stations (lack of ballot booths and damaged booths), spoilt marking apparatus, lack of election documentation (election lists were not posted on the walls, rules to fill in the ballot papers, lists of political parties, borders of the election districts and instructions how to fill in the ballot papers). Chairpersons of the Precinct Election Commissions (PEC) stated that the District Election Commissions (DEC) did not provide them with the equipment and documentation on time.

The polling stations were arranged in contrary to the requirements of the Election Code of Georgia (registration tables, ballot booths and boxes were placed in various places): precinct commission members implemented their duties incorrectly and carelessly, PEC members were incompetent and did not care about their obligations, PEC secretaries were incompetent and did not do their job (record books were filled in incorrectly, they did not register the complaints and notes in the Record Book, blatant violation of the rule of registering the complaints and releasing corresponding notifications).

The observed violations are: procedures were breached after polling stations were opened before the election procedures started, commission members neglected their functions which they shared based on the ballot, the commission members often changed their functions and recorded it in the Record Book, people with the badges of the political parties were at the polling station on the Election Day.

Procedural violations were also observed: incorrect examination of marked people, unmarked voters, wrong usage of the ballot box seals, assisting the voters in the ballot booths, more than one voters in the booths, voting outside the booths or showing off the unclosed ballot papers after leaving the booths, participation in the elections without the required documents, and oppression of observers and interference in their activities.

Law enforcement officers were observed at the polling stations and in the surrounding area, big wave of people entered the precincts, ineligible people participated in the elections, violations connected with the portable box – for example unsealed portable boxes were discovered after they returned to the precincts.

People carried out propaganda in favor of the ruling party (on the Election Day the election posters of the United National Movement were posted up on the fences of the precincts, on the Election Day the voters were transported by mini-buses, etc).  The members of the ruling party oppressed observers (on the Election Day, so-called micro-coordinators stood at the entrances to the polling stations and registered and oppressed voters), fabrication of voters’ lists, shortcomings in the procedures before ballot box was opened, violations in the counting procedures and summing up procedures of final results, violation of procedures of main and portable ballot boxes, difference between the number of counted ballot papers and number of voters registered in the final protocol, and purposeful suspension of the procedures.

On June 12, the Human Rights Center observed the repeated election in the polling station # 47 in the village of Zemo Lambalo in Sagarejo district. It should be pointed out that electoral fraud was observed during the repeated elections.

The Human Rights Center observed the elections in the framework of the project “Assistance of Fair Election in Samegrelo Zemo-Svaneti and Kakheti Regions”.

“Although the elections were generally held in peaceful environment, I cannot say that it was democratic and transparent. Pre-election campaign was carried out in unequal conditions, administrative resources were misused, there was problem in regard with media. Many violations cast doubt on the objectivity of the elections,” said the project coordinator Nino Abaishvili.

On June 24, the Central Election Commission will discuss the complaint of the Human Rights Center on the activities of the Sagarejo district election commission and requests liability of commission members. At the end of July the Human Rights Center will publish the final report on pre-election and election violations. The center will also prepare recommendations for the authority.

The Human Rights Center posted the full version of the mid-term report on its website. You can read it on the following link: http://humanrights.ge/admin/editor/uploads/pdf/23%20English_Repor%20FINAL.pdf
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