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Opposition is not able to hold pre-election campaigns in the villages adjacent to the occupation line

30.07.2020

 
Lado Bitchashvili, Shida Kartli 

The representatives of opposition parties are deprived of the possibility to enter the villages near the occupation line and hold the pre-election campaigns there. The above problem was already faced by the political movement Lelo when the representatives of the party were not allowed to enter village Ditsi and the planed pre-election meetings with the population was canceled there. The Georgian law enforcers at the security checkpoint located at the entrance to the village could not explain the reason for the denial and only told them that the visit to the village must be agreed with the Ministry of Internal Affairs.  The representatives of the movement Lelo for Georgia assess the restriction on the entrance to the villages near the occupation line as unconstitutional and start a legal battle for the abolishment of the restrictions.

“The number of the villages near the occupation line is 25 only in the municipality of Gori, in addition to that, there are villages in Kaspi, Kareli and Khashuri municipalities, which are also located near the occupation line. It is unacceptable to us that we cannot reach the villages where our population reside in very tough conditions,” Kakha Kozhoridze, one of the leaders of the Lelo said demanding a response from the government why such restrictions are applied against the opposition on the background that the representatives of the ruling party can enter the villages without any problems.

The majoritarian candidate of the United National Movement in the electoral district of Gori and Kaspi, Badri Basishvili says that notwithstanding the restrictions the opposition will manage to enter the villages and meet local populations there.

“This is the selective justice and interference with the opposition parties. Where the state servants are not restricted to walk in the villages along the occupation line, why this is restricted to the opposition? We are not going to let the Georgian Dream violate the rights granted by the Constitution and we are starting to enter the villages located at the occupation line form the next week. We shall by all means reach each family, hear the problems from them and introduce them with our election program,”  Badri Basishvili states. 

According to the statement of Otar Kvirikashvili, a representative of the Victorious Georgia, the restrictions imposed on the representatives of the opposition parties have particular purposes. According to Otar Kvirikashvili,  through the restrictions  the government tries not to vitalize the problems existing at the occupation line, like the creeping occupation and hard social and economic conditions of the people living there.  

In contrast to that the inhabitants of near the occupation line should feel that the safety of their villages are sustained and they are not alone, that they have the right to express themselves and have freedom to move throughout their own country, their free will is instead  restricted by means of attempts to suppress dissenting voices and thus they lack the opportunities to participate in any activities. I hope everybody understands, who is interested in this. Agents of the Russian KGB intend  to win the elections through this kind of election environment, but they will not succeed.  Georgian people have the freedom to move around their own country and express themselves as guaranteed by the Constitution  and nobody will ever deprive them from that," says Otar Kvirikashvili.

In order to understand why there are restrictions for the representatives of the opposition parties to enter the territories near the occupation line and hold pre-election campaigns, humanrights.ge contacted  Giorgi Khojevanishvili,  the State Representative in the region of Shida Kartli, who is also an MP candidate of the Georgian Dream party in Gori and Kaspi electorate district. However, Giorgi Khojevanishvili did not wish to make comments on the issue. According to the statements of the opposition, the mentioned restrictions would not apply to Khojevanishvili,  because the restrictions for moving within the villages near the occupation line are maintained by the Interior Ministry and the State Security Service. In fact, the deputy chief of the State Security Service Aleksandre Khojevanishvili is a brother to the governor in charge, who is also the MP candidate of the ruling party. Taking into account the above mentioned, the opposition anticipates an active involvement of the State Security Service in the Parliamentary Elections, especially in the Gori and Kaspi election districts. 

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