Human Rights Center Evaluates 2016 Parliamentary Elections
Human Rights Center observed the Parliamentary Elections in four regions of Georgia. The monitors and journalists of the Center are deployed in the conflict-affected villages of Shida Kartli and in Gori; in Imereti region - in the conflict affected villages in Sachkhere municipality; Kvemo Kartli region - in the villages compactly inhabited with ethnic minorities in Gardabani, Marneuli and Bolinisi municipalities and in Rustavi; Kakheti region – in the villages of Pankisi Gorge.
Observers of Human Rights Center registered 14 complaints and recorded more than 10 remarks in the log-book.
Absolute majority of violations is caused by low competence of the election commission members and poor knowledge of the election law. These problems were particularly common in Kvemo Kartli region, in the villages compactly inhabited by ethnic minorities, where tension and sometimes conflicts originated because of incompetence of the commission members.
In one of similar conflicting situations, in Keshalo village, Marneuli municipality, in the precinct #37 the HRIDC observer became victim of verbal and physical assault. He noticed that a voter was taking envelope outside the polling station and gave remark to the commission chairman. The commission chairman Taya Dzveliev and his deputy Samed Gajiev shouted at the observer and physically asaulted him. The incident was video-recorded by the observer of the Public Movement Multinational Georgia.
Human Rights Center reported the police and the CEC about the incident. The injured observer and witnesses stayed in the Marneuli municipality police office in Algeti from 19:00 pm till 01.00 am. The police started investigation under Article 162 Part 1 of the Criminal Code of Georgia (interference in the elections, referendum or plebiscite), that is punished by imprisonment up to 2 years
Human Rights Center calls on the MIA to promptly respond to the physical abuse of the HRIDC observer in the Keshalo village precinct # 37 in Marneuli DEC # 35 and punish the commission chairman and his deputy in accordance to the law. The CEC shall also start administrative liability against the commission members, which yesterday denied the information about the physical assault of the observer by the commission members.
Extraordinary activity of the coordinators and agitators of the political parties and their attempt to control voters was very alarming. Although the Election Code does not ban presence and agitation of the coordinators near the precincts, Human Rights Center will mention this fact as one of the main problems in the election process. Mostly, the coordinators of the ruling party Georgian Dream and of the leading opposition party United National Movement were active in the precincts; they recorded the voters who came to the precincts. In front of several polling stations they conducted agitation activities. In some cases the coordinators of the political parties opposed each other that created threats to fair elections.
Like 2013 presidential and 2014 local self-governmental elections, monitors of Human Rights Center observed insufficient number of ballot papers in many polling stations. Although all voters did not appear in the precincts, the requirements of the law shall be met and all possible risks that may hinder the election process shall be avoided.
Human Rights Center will produce a report on the violations observed during the Election Day and during the second round of the elections in Georgian and English languages. The report will be sent to local and international organizations and media. Video-studio of Human Rights Center HRIDC.TV will produce a documentary film about the 2016 Parliamentary Elections.
Human Rights Center is monitoring the parliamentary elections in partnership with the Norwegian Helsinki Committee and the Open Society Georgia Foundation.
Human Rights Center
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