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“Election Fraud Has Already Started”

April 16, 2010

Ana Sheshaberidze

On April 15, the National Council organized a meeting with experts and diplomatic corps in the hotel “Bets”. One of the leaders of the Conservative Party, Kakha Kukava, introduced the pre-election violations to the guests; they also provided documents to prove their findings.

Kakha Kukava said that the Central Election Commission did not satisfy their request  to install video-cameras in every polling station because most violations were observed in those polling stations where video-cameras were not installed. They appealed the decision at the court but the court passed verdict in favor of the CEC.

At the meeting Kukava showed a copy of the letter which is distributed to the retired people in Tbilisi by the city mayor Gigi Ugulava. It was funded from the city budget. Kukava assessed the letter to be part of pre-election campaign. He said that the mayor illegally uses administrative resources.

Attention was paid to cases of intimidation and threatening. An exclusive form was also provided at the meeting which will be delivered to the family of prisoners and if the families collect a concrete number of voters, the prisoner will be released. The participants of the meeting stated that the families of opposition members are still intimidated and threatened. The government offered them money or positions. If they refuse, the opposition members are threatened with imprisonment. One more example of oppression is that opposition parties are not allowed to hire halls for the pre-election meetings with voters.

Kakha Kukava: “We appeal to the prosecutor’s office and the Ministry of Internal Affairs, who supposedly prepared this form, to start official investigation of the issue. Unless the investigation is started, it will be testimony of Vano Merabishvili (minister of internal affairs) and Zurab Adeishvili (minster of justice) where they will confess that they were initiators and organizers of this campaign.”

Koba Davitashvili, People’s Party:  “In fact, the government announced war against the National Council. Oppression and offering money and high positions still continue. Unless they are bribed or accept other methods, they are threatened with imprisonment. There was one concrete case in Khobi when our commission member was detained because he did not obey them. The same happened in Kutaisi. I do not say anything about the printing house which is still closed instead of printing our pre-election materials. It is natural that we will not put up with it. We can prove the facts by documents and send them to international organizations. The fabrication of the elections has already started.”

Expert Mamuka Areshidze assessed the meeting positively. He was the only person who asked: “In similar situation why do the opposition parties take part in the elections?” Kukava replied: “We hope the election process will better expose those violations and faults which will be responded by the international organizations. If we boycott the elections, those violations will not be exposed.”

The aim of the meeting was to inform the international community. The organizers called upon them to respond to the abovementioned violations.