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Tbilisi Prosecutor Involved in Blatant Violation of Election Law

April 24, 2008
Natalia Begashvili
Gela Mtivlishvili, Kakheti

Gurjaani Election Precinct # 12 registered Giorgi Ghviniashvili from the United National Movement as a candidate for MP through the majoritarian (single mandate) system and as a result, the Georgian election law has been breached. The Georgian Code of Elections and it requirements that certain demands must be considered by the Central Election Commission, which  Ghviniahsivli has not provided  proof of resignation to the Precinct Election Commission and the supporting document that he does not work as the Tbilisi Prosecutor.

In accordance to the Article 94, Paragraph I-“p” of the Georgian Code of Elections, within “Two days after coming out as a candidate for a MP to stand in elections, and the notification is to be submitted to the appropriate election commission, and the candidate, prosecutors, their deputies, assistants and even investigators shall then resign from their positions.” According to the paragraph II of the same article “corresponding legal warrant providing to resign from the posts shall be immediately submitted to the corresponding Election Commission. If not, the person shall be refused the right to be registered as a candidate for MP, or if this person has already registered, the paperwork shall be annulled.”

Despite the clear requirements under the law, Gurjaani Election Precinct # 12 still registered Giorgi Ghviniashvili to take part in the elections and he is still in his position as a prosecutor.

“Because of violations only one member of the election commission, Nana Jadugishvili, who represents Republic Party, protested the fact and refused to register Ghviniashvili as a candidate. She provided legal arguments of her protest, however, all her efforts were in vain,” said Zurab Danelishvili, representative of the Republic Party to the Gurjaani Precinct Election Commission # 12.

Nana Devidze, regional coordinator of the International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy, attended the commission meeting which discussed the registration of candidates.

“I learned about the meeting by chance because they did not put up the notice about it on the notice-board. Also, neither the board of the commission took care to inform me about it. It appears that interested stakeholders are not allowed to attend the session to determine whether the commission assesses various issues according to the law. It would be desirable that commission members were correct in their relations with representatives of political parties, NGOs and journalists. Moreover, each reporter has two minutes to make a speech. However, if this person is in the middle of a sentence they are not even allowed to complete it before being cut off,” said Nana Devidze.

Natalia Begashvili, the chairperson of the Gurjaani Precinct Election Commission # 12 did not comment about this situation. She did not allow her deputy, Zaza Kviralashvili to speak with us. She grabbed him in the arm and pulled into her office and was even shouting.

Andro Shinjikashvili, representative of the CEC to the Gurjaani Election Precinct, was particularly aggressive in his behavior.  He too did not want to comment about the complaints of the observers either but later he said that commission members had not breached the law. He said Ghviniashvili was on the election list of the United National Movement and he had already submitted the required resignation letter to the CEC within the stipulated deadline.

According to the Article 2 of the CEC Resolution # 19/2008 dated by April 6 2008 “immediately after the MP candidate provides the CEC with certain documents or notifications, the CEC shall send all necessary documents to Precinct Election Commission (PEC).” Despite the resolution, the Precinct’s Election Commission has not received the resolution from the CEC dealing with the resignation of Giorgi Ghviniashvili from the position of Tbilisi Prosecutor.

Zurab Danelishvili told that they intend to appeal against the PEC at the CEC and even court proceedings. Danelishvili does not exclude the possibility that Natalia Begashvili would provide the resolution about Ghviniashvili’s resignation together with the earlier dated report of the commission’s meeting on April 24. Observers from NGOs also agree with the claims of the Republic Party’s member who claimed that election rules were breached.

“Begashvili is responsible for falsifying many documents during the snap Presidential Election that was held back on January 5 2008, so she is very well experienced how to do such things. Of course we do not exclude the possibility that she will now forge or fabricate the documents now again. Moreover, she has a sense of impunity as she understands that she will not be held responsible and she might even be honored for her deeds. Several criminal cases are launched regarding the violations observed during the Presidential Elections but Begashvili has not even been interrogated as a witness,” said representatives of the Human Rights Centre.

It is clear from the statements of lawyers that the alleged violation is so evident that Ghviniahsvili’s candidature must be removed from the ballot.

Torsten Derik and Severin Chapaz, Long-term Observers of the Observation Mission of the OSCE Democratic Institutions and Human Rights Office, were informed about the registration that was made by the commission members through the violation, during the discussion it was pointed out in their conversation with the local observation organizations that they would study the situation in details and observe the situation carefully.