GYLA Releases Third Interim Report on October Elections

On October 30, Georgian Young Lawyer’s Association (GYLA), a local watchdog, said in its third interim report on the October 31 parliamentary elections that the pre-election campaign in October was marked by violent confrontations, with Shida and Kvemo Kartli regions being the hotspots this time. 

The report, based on monitoring conducted by GYLA’s long-term observation mission, from October 1 to October 26, included violations and negative practices perpetrated by both, the ruling party and the opposition.

GYLA identified two cases of alleged vote-buying, eight cases of alleged political pressure and violence, one case of alleged ignoring of the requirement to separate the state and political parties, two cases of possible obstruction of election campaigns and one case of the supposed misuse of administrative resources.

Violent incidents and instances of political pressure were the key highlights of the report, such as alleged pressure on public servants by the ruling party; alleged attacks on United National Movement (UNM) Samgori district majoritarian candidate Levan Khabeishvili’s campaign staffer, and on European Georgia (EG) member Oktai Skandarov; possible pressure on a Lelo member; throwing of brick at an EG office; a confrontation between EG and Georgian Dream (GD) representatives in Akhalubani village; an alleged attack on UNM-led Strength in Unity bloc majoritarian candidate Kakha Okriashvili’s supporter and an incident near a GD office in Dmanisi, resulting in gunshots wounding four persons, reportedly.

The watchdog identified two cases of alleged vote-buying in favor of the ruling Georgian Dream party and the opposition Free Georgia party. According to the report, Tbilisi City Hall member from the GD, Rima Beradze, donated a fridge and groceries to a family on July 11, while the Free Georgia party opened a pharmacy where expensive medicines will be sold at 70%-80% of their price.

GYLA assessed Agriculture Minister Levan Davitashvili’s remarks on the involvement of Bidzina Ivanishvili-affiliated Cartu Foundation in the state project for restoring Mtatsminda Park landscape as a possible ignoring of the requirement to separate the state and political parties. 

Regarding misuse of administrative resources, the watchdog said incumbent GD Kutaisi majoritarian MP Genadi Margvelashvili campaigned for the GD Kutaisi majoritarian hopeful Zaza Lominadze at a state-funded event. 

The report said election campaigns of Lelo and Strategy Aghmashenebli were possibly obstructed on two occasions, namely when the latter’s members and activists were not allowed to set up tents near the Tbilisi City Hall to gather signatures for a petition, while Lelo majoritarian candidate and activists were not allowed disseminate agitation material nearby Kakheti highway. 

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