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Intimidation on Candidates –Refuse Participation in Elections

April 19, 2010

Gela Mtivlishvili, Kakheti

Parties and election blocks registered in accordance to the Election Code have deadline on April 30 to submit applications of their single mandate candidates. Representatives of the opposition parties state they might not have candidates in many villages because already selected people now refuse to participate in the elections. According to opposition parties, their candidates are intimidated.

Former governor of Dedoplistskaro district Gela Iakobishvili wanted to be a single mandate candidate of the Christian-Democratic Movement in the village of Tsiteltskaro for the local self-governmental elections on May 30, 2010. Residents of Tsiteltskaro district confirm that representatives of the Christian Democratic Movement said their candidate was Iakobishvili when checking the election lists. The head of the Dedoplistskaro district office of the party Goderdzi Abulashvili confirmed the fact. He said they had already agreed that Iakobishvili was their candidate in the village of Tsiteltskaro; however, at the last moment he refused to be candidate in the elections.

“I had to be the candidate but I changed my mind. Why? Because it was my decision,” said Gela Iakobishvili.

In 2007 court imposed suspended sentence of 5 years on Gela Iakobishvili for abusing his power but he has served only 3 years so far. According to the Election Code of Georgia, the convicted person cannot take part in the elections; but according to our information Iakobishvili was warned he would encounter some problems if he took part in the elections.

“He canceled his candidature himself. He does not speak about the reason. Maybe he was oppressed. Gela Iakobishvili was real candidate,” said Goderdzi Abulashvili.

If he had agreed, Gela Iakobishvili would have been a rival of the Dedoplistskaro district deputy governor Gela Tetrauli. Tetrauli is candidate of the National Movement.

According to the Movement for the Just Georgia, director of the public school in the village of Kakabeti in Sagarejo district Paata Chkheidze fired Levan Kvezereli, husband of Nato Kurdovanidze, the single mandate candidate of the Movement.

“Kvezereli was a watchman at the public school. The director fired him after it was reported that his wife was our candidate for the municipality elections, “said Levan Khaziuri, coordinator of the party in Kakheti region.
Director of the public school Paata Chkheidze denies the fact. He said Kvezereli was fired because he was reprimanded for carelessness; last time, he was half hour late for work and we fired him.

One more member of Zurab Noghaideli’s Movement Shalva Gogishvili appealed to the police. Gogishvili is the candidate of the Noghaideli’s party from the village of Gamarjveba in Dedoplistskaro district; he requests to investigate the facts of threatening on him by law enforcement officers.

“On April 14 and 15 strange woman called me from the phone number 899 577 695; she demanded me in an aggressive tone to leave the party and the village. Otherwise, she threatened me with abusing my family; I received threatening message later for what I appealed to the police station,” said Shalva Gogishvili, member of the Dedoplistskaro district office of the Movement for the Just Georgia.

Head of the Dedoplistskaro district police station Gela Bunturi said investigation under Article 151 of the Criminal Code of Georgia was launched on the fact.

“At night, strangers attacked me at home. They were in civil forms and demanded to stop working for Noghaideli’s party; otherwise he would be arrested,” said Gogita Gelashvili, youth coordinator of the party in Lagodekhi district. The party intends to introduce their candidate in the village of Tela in Lagodekhi district.

Regarding the issue the Lagodekhi district police department has not started the investigation yet. According to the department, nobody has applied to their office yet.

Candidates of the opposition parties were oppressed during the pre-election campaign of the parliamentary elections on May 21, 2008. For example, in Akhmeta one day before the candidate was introduced in Akhmeta district the candidate of the United Opposition Irakli Jamrulidze refused to take part in the elections; though he had already filled in the special application form. Jamrulidze said his family members were permanently oppressed and it became the reason of his refusal. More precisely, several hours after filling in the application form, his family members received a letter from the prosecutor’s office where they were called to the office as witnesses on one of the criminal cases.