Journalistic Survey
Photo Reportage
Foreign Media about Georgia
Reader's opinion
Children's Rights
Women's Rights

Mtskheta-Mtianeti – Pre-election Digest N5

September 21, 2012

From September 1 to September 8, Information Center of Mtskheta-Mtianeti observed 1 fact of firing people from job, 4 facts of oppression, 3 facts of interference in pre-election campaign and 1 fact of abuse of administrative resources.

Firing People from Job

Member of the Election Commission fired from job  –Ledi Natadze, member of the election commission of Odzisi village precinct # 25 in Dusheti district from the Georgian Dream, was fired from job. Natadze was teaching Georgian Language and Literature in Odzisi Public School. “They had to resume labor contracts with teachers in September. I was already told that they are not going to continue my contract while all other teachers will have their contracts resumed. This fact is connected with my political affiliation. On August 26, Coalition Georgian Dream nominated me for the commission membership of PEC # 25 in Odzisi village. Presumably they fired me for that reason. There cannot be any other reason. I am experienced teacher; I have worked at school for 40 years; I have never been rebuked in my life. Although I am 69, there are some teachers at school who are older than I am and nobody had fired them,” Ledi Natadze told ICMM. “New labor contracts were not signed with any teacher yet. I do not know what will happen. I can assure you that either I will leave school together with Ledi Natadze or we both remain here to work,” Roena Kvitsiani, director of Odzisi Public School told ICMM.

Oppression, Interference

Teacher threatened with firing from school – Teacher of the Arguni village Public School in Dusheti district Izo Khutsishvili was threatened with firing from school because of meeting with the leaders of the Georgian Dream. “On August 12, head of Georgian Dream’s Dusheti organization Tedo Kariauli and other leaders of the Coalition visited our village. I also arrived at the meeting. A lot of people were gathered including the supporters of the National Movement. Tedo Kariauli said that teachers used to have twice higher salaries during communist regime than they have now. He added that if there was any teacher at the meeting, they could confirm his allegation. I will repeat now what I replied to him at the meeting: “we did not have higher salaries during communist regime but we had various privileges: we received 50 lari per month to buy fire-wood; if any teacher rented a house, the government paid the rent.” Next day, director of the Arguni Public School Nana Mchedlishvili visited me at home and asked where I was on the previous day. She said people from the Dusheti district administration had called her and requested to warn her teacher to avoid meeting Georgian Dream’s representatives and keep silence or she might lose a job. I did not agitate there. I have told you what I said during the meeting. Entire village is scared. In fact, we cannot say a word. Several days ago, a postman told me he is invited to the district administration to meet Zurab Otiashvili; the postman said they asked him who I support (Zurab Otiashvili is head of Dusheti District Election HQ of the National Movement). I have been teaching at the primary school for 47 years. Although we already started working at school, new labor contracts were not signed with us yet,” Izo Khutsishvili said.

Chairman of the PEC N 2 in Kazbegi resigned -On September 3, ICMM reported that chairpersons of the PEC # 1 in Stepantsminda and PEC # 4 in Akhaltsikhe village, Stepandtsminda district Givi Khutsishvili and Nona Gujaraidze resigned based on their resignation letters. The reason of their resignation was health problems. “After being elected as a chair of Stepandtsminda PEC #1 my health conditions worsened. I have to take medical treatment and will not be able to appear at the commission every day; busy working schedule will not be good for my health either. So I decided to resign,” Givi Khutsishvili said. Nona Gujaraidze, chairwoman of the PEC # 4 in Akhaltsikhe village also named health problems as a reason of her resignation. Givi Khutsishvili and Nona Gujaraidze were elected for the position on August 26. According to the ICMM, commission chairpersons refused to implement the instructions of the government and decided to resign.

Georgian Dream’s posters painted in Stepantsminda  – On September 5, employees of the cleaning service painted posters of the Georgian Dream in Stepantsminda. Head of Georgian Dream’s Stepantsminda district organization Shalva Eloshvili told ICMM about it. “All posters, which were placed in the center of Stepantsminda, were painted in white. I did not witness this fact personally but we know that employees of the town cleaning service did it,” Eloshvili said. “Coalition Georgian Dream placed their election posters in the places allocated by the District Election Commission. The law prohibits damage of election posters; it is violation of Article 46 of the Election Code,” lawyer of the Georgian Dream’s Stepantsminda office Manana Marsagishvili said. Three witnesses confirmed with the ICMM that employees of the cleaning service had painted the posters. Head of Stepantsminda cleaning service Elguja Alibegashvili did not comment on the fact.

Attempt to fail pre-election meeting  – National Movement’s activists tried to fail the meeting of the Georgian Dream’s majoritarian candidate Zakaria Kutsnashvili in Zhebota village, Tianeti district. Activists of the ruling party arrived at the meeting in the UNM’s t-shirts. Among them was former police officer Alika Pitskhelauri who did not allow Zakaria Kutsnashvili to introduce voters with their election program. “First volume of Dachi’s Fairy Tales finished. Why should I stop? It is not your business. I am not irritating anybody. Shall I ask you permission where to go?! Georgia is a country where everybody has right to express his opinion. I am not arguing or insulting anybody,” Alika Pitskhelauri told Georgian Dream’s supporters. “You are already insulting people by creating similar situation here. Let us listen to the majoritarian candidate. Shall we listen to your remarks?” the voters told him. Law enforcement authorities have not yet launched investigation about the incident which occurred in Duluzaurebi village, Tianeti district in August. Then, Badur Poladishvili, who presumably is activist of the National Movement, insulted supporters of the Georgian Dream and INFO9’s journalists. Poladishvili was driving car very fast in the district where Georgian Dream’s majoritarian candidate was supposed to meet voters. Poladishvili was there together with two people. He got irritated when INFO9’s video-camera recorded him. “Why are you shooting me? Do you want me to take off and show you…?” Poladishvili shouted at INFO9’s journalists.

Georgian Dream’s activists insulted –On September 7, an incident occurred in Bulachauri village, Dusheti district. Young people from red Jeep insulted activists of the Georgian Dream gathered in the village center. The car belongs to Choporti village governor Nugzar Lapanashvili. “Our activists were standing in front of a shop in Bulachauri center. Since Eldar Iarajuli and Lado Zurabashvili were wearing Georgian Dream’s t-shirts, young people sitting in the car insulted them. The locals recognized the abusers. They live in Choporta village. The car belongs to Nugzar Lapanashvili, governor of Choporta village in Dusheti district,” Georgian Dream’s coordinator Nino Kharanauli said. Nugzar Lapanashvili denied the accusation in his conversation with ICMM.

Head of National Movement’s HQ Beat INFO9’s cameraman head of the National Movement’s election HQ in Kazbegi Guram Jamarjashvili physically assaulted INFO9’s cameraman Avto Sujashvili when the latter was implementing his professional duties. INFO 9 was covering how people were mobilized to send to the National Movement’s assembly in Mtskheta on September 9. “Why do you irritate people?”Guram Jamarjashvili asked the cameraman and hit him in the face. Jamarjashvili did not comment on the issue.

Facts Containing Signs of Criminal Offence Which Were Not Responded by Police

GYLA Requests Investigation of Assumed Bribery Fact of Voters by Zurab Otiashvili – Georgian Young Lawyers Association calls on law enforcement authorities to immediately investigate alleged vote-buying by Zurab Otiashvili. “On August 27, 2012, information center of Mtskheta-Mtianeti released information about alleged vote-buying by Zurab Otiashvili. According to media reports as well as the information published on the website of Dusheti Municipality, on August 25, 2012, a public celebration Vazhaoba was facilitated by Dusheti Municipality Sakrebulo, Gamgeoba and the administration of the State Representative – Governor. During the event, one of the UNM’s representatives, Zurab Otiashvili, assisted a local resident with GEL 500. The fact is confirmed by a number of pieces of evidence, specifically: in audio recording published on, Giorgi Basilashvili confirms that Zurab Otiashvili helped him out; when commenting to a journalist, Zurab Otiashvili himself confirmed the information, saying that “he was in need and helped him humanely. If you had seen him, you would have helped him as well”; in a report prepared by Maestro TV, Giorgi Basilashvili and his friend reiterate that Zurab Otiashvili helped the voter out. Specifically, they note that the money was handed to Basilashvili by an MC who declared that the money was from Zurab Otiashvili. It is noteworthy that on August 18, one week before the celebratory event, Zurab Otiashvili was presented as a majoritarian candidate by the Speaker of the Parliament and one of the leaders of the UNM, Davit Bakradze. Mr. Otiashvili was holding meetings with public in his capacity as a majoritarian candidate, which is confirmed by a number of video footage. For example, video footage released on August 23 shows local official Tskaruashvili with Zurab Otiashvili, meeting with population and holding an agitation meeting where he highlights merits of the candidate. These facts altogether confirm that Zurab Otiashvili is acting in favor of the political union the United National Movement and has electoral goals. According to the August 31 reports, “Nino Khutsishvili will be replacing Zurab Otiashvili as a majoritarian candidate of the United National Movement in Dusheti electoral district”. However, the change does not influence qualification of the offence committed on August 25. Under Article 1641 of the Criminal Code of Georgia, transferring money directly or indirectly to an individual for electoral purpose amounts to vote buying and is punishable by up to three years of imprisonment or a fine. The action of the political union United National Movement’s representative, Zurab Otiashvili, shows signs of vote-buying. Therefore, we call the law enforcement authorities to investigate the fact in a timely manner and undertake measures envisaged by the law,” statement of the GYLA reads. Transparency International – Georgia and Fair Elections [ISFED] also requested investigation of the alleged vote-buying fact. Georgian Dream also appealed to the prosecutor’s office with the same request. Despite that, investigation was not launched yet. After the incident, Zurab Otiashvili was appointed to the position of the head of National Movement’s Dusheti Office. 

Abuse of Administrative Resources

The number of employees has increased in Mtskheta district administration  – Number of employees has increased in Mtskheta district administration before elections. District governor Teimuraz Abashidze has four deputies instead two and district territorial authorities have 22 more specialists. In 2010 -225 people worked at the Mtskheta district administration; in 2011 230; in January of 2012- 253 and in July of 2012- 264 people. Numbers of employees are also increased in territorial entities of villages in Mtshketa district. There are 24 territorial authorities in Mtshketa district. In 2011 42 specialists were working in territorial entities; in January of 2012 – 56 people and in July of 2012 – 63 people. Specialists were added to following territorial authorities: Agdomliantkari, Natakhtari, Tsikhisdziri, Ksani, Ksovrisi, Saguramo, Mukhrani, Tskhvarichamia, old Kanda, and Misaktsieli. Information centre of Mtshketa- Mtianeti didn’t get answer about its question why number of deputy governors and specialists of territorial entities had increased. “I am on a holiday and don’t want to talk about work right now,” Mtskheta district governor Teimuraz Abashidze told ICMM. Givi Maisuradze who is performing governor’s duties didn’t answer our questions either. Attorneys of territorial entities are also on holiday till October 2. They participate in the pre-election campaign of the National-Movement.

Information Center of Mtskheta-Mtianeti Will Publish Pre-Election Digest Every Saturday before October 1, 2012

Responsible person for the content of the digest Gela Mtivlishvili
Cell phone:  599 34 34 77