PM Kvirikashvili says by-election clash was “absolutely deplorable”

The Prime Minister said the ruling party and its supporters had more responsibility to act appropriately and should not react to provocations or confrontations. Photo by the Prime Minister’s webpage., 27 May 2016 - 16:22, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgia’s Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili has again condemned the clash at a regional polling station that left dozens of people battered and bruised after supporters of opposing political parties started fighting one another.

At today’s Governmental meeting Kvirikashvili stressed last weekend’s clash was an "absolutely deplorable and regretful fact” and he tasked relevant ministries to strictly address the incident.

On May 22 a fight involving dozens of people erupted between supporters of the ruling Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia (GDDG) party and opposition United National Movement (UNM) outside a polling station in Kortskheli village, Zugdidi municipality, during the by-elections for Sakrebulo (local council).

Kvirikashvili stressed the ruling party and its supporters had "a higher obligation of forbearance” and appealed to the party’s supporters to refrain from engaging in fights or other controversies.

This is an absolutely deplorable and regretful fact. An investigation into the case has already been launched. Above all I would like to assure our supporters that this is not our style,” Kvirikashvili stressed.
We do not intend to hold elections in this manner. We aim to ensure violence-free polling stations where citizens have the opportunity to express their will by voting in a free environment unimpeded by confrontations and conflicts,” said the PM.

Kvirikashvili said it was imperative these types of incidents were prevented from happening again and he instructed law enforcement bodies to increase their presence during the elections or other similar occasions.

I urge law enforcers to pay closer attention to violent acts of this kind and ensure the full presence of law enforcers in the future during the elections,” Kvirikashvili said. 

The Georgian high official instructed the Ministry of Justice to propose legislative amendments to toughen the penalties for people who engage in acts of violence during the election period.