Shorena Kakabadze, Kutaisi
In the Kutaisi regional office of the Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association GYLA the members of the political parties, representatives of media and civil society organizations discussed the following issues: winning the voters over, raiding of regional offices of political parties, blackmailing public servants, misuse of administrative resources during pre-election campaigns, budget amendments in the pre-election period that is restricted by the law etc.
“If we analyze the situation and correctly asses the actions of the members of the ruling party, we will understand that we expect quite difficult elections. Unfortunately, we are quite far away from ideal elections”, - declared Nato Katamadze, the single mandate candidate from the “Republic Party” in Kutaisi election district.
Katamadze said that the majority of coordinators of precinct election commissions are public servants or employees of the public law legal entities: “or they work for municipality administration. The City Hall employees are unofficial managers of the election zones. They will write the appeals and become official managers of the election zones for the ruling party in September. This is misuse of administrative resources that is forbidden by the law”.
The representatives of the opposition parties are talking about agitation in social media: “according to the legislation, public servants cannot make propaganda during working hours. They get salaries from the budget for concrete duties and not for agitation-propaganda or PR for any particular political party or concrete candidate of the ruling party. It is exactly non-balanced election environment and wrong approach to the issue”.
Giorgi Ukleba, the member of the “United National Movement”, spoke about mass intimidation of people. He said that openly, without any conspiracy, the employees of the Kutaisi City Hall and other state institutions are oppressed and intimidated. They cannot openly express their support towards the “National Movement” or any other political party, otherwise, they will lose their jobs.
“Our Kutaisi office was looted. They damaged the building, which is located on the territory of the city-museum and is in the list of historical heritage. The criminals were just fined with 50 GEL. Besides, there are problems with administrative building. In particular, we could not reach the agreement with the City Hall to hold the event in the theater. We agreed with the administration of the theater, but in the last moment, we were refused by the City Hall. We held session in the street. We have already informed the GYLA about this and other facts and we are ready to cooperate with them”, - said Giorgi Ukleba.
The sacked employees of the kindergartens, dragged out trials into their cases, raided regional offices of political parties – it is incomplete list of the violations about which the representatives of the opposition parties highlighted during the meeting .
Ana Natsvlishvili, the chairwoman of GYLA, also confirmed that similar facts occur in Imereti region and in the country in general.
“We observed facts of illegal agitations that is bribery of voters. Accordingly we appealed relevant election administration, and the Central Election Commission, the State Audit Service and we are waiting for their decisions. Also, we can underline some major violations during 4 months pre-election campaign. It is related with the amendments in the distric budgets in the prohibited 60-day period before the Election Day and also initialization of new programs. We observe similar activities in almost every region of Georgia m. The changes mostly refer to social and infrastructural projects. Therefore, we still face the problems that were impossible to tackle with our legislation and ensure defense of rights of voters and political parties”, - clarified Ana Natsvlishvili.