TI Georgia: ‘misuse of administrative resources during elections is still problematic for Georgia’

Transparency International Georgia's (TI Georgia) observation of the parliamentary elections from July 1, November 22, 2020 showed that the misuse of administrative resources during electoral processes is still problematic for Georgia. Photo: screenshot/TI Georgia's report.


Agenda.ge, 24 Dec 2020 - 16:00, Tbilisi,Georgia

Transparency International Georgia’s (TI Georgia) observation of the parliamentary elections from July 1 to November 22 shows that the misuse of administrative resources during electoral processes is still problematic for Georgia.

The NGO says that the ineffective investigation of violence, the politicisation of public institutions, including election commissions, and the mobilisation of employees of budgetary organisations by the ruling party for Georgia’s parliamentary election campaigns remain unchanged from election to election.

During the reporting period, there was a tendency to use several types of institutional administrative resources.

Using state-funded projects in campaigning: The practice of visiting various public or private projects funded by the state or local budget by the ruling party's election candidates has become a trend. Such cases were recorded throughout the country and did not contribute to the existence of a clear boundary between the state and the ruling party in the run-up to the elections.

 Mobilization of public servants: As in previous elections, mobilization of employees of budgetary organizations for pre-election meetings was observed in the reporting period.

 Illegal campaigning: There have also been several cases of alleged illegal campaigning. Similar to the previous elections, the election commissions still did not recognize the cases of overt campaigning on the personal pages of social networks as electoral agitation.

 TI Georgia recommends that:

  •  investigative bodies should  investigate the cases containing alleged violence and pressure against the parties involved in the election, vote buying and other signs of crimes as soon as possible
  •  the MIA should proactively and promptly publish information on the progress and results of election-related investigations
  •  the Prosecutor’s Office and the State Security Service of Georgia should remain as far away from political processes as possible and they should not be used for the purpose of discrediting any political force for electoral purpose

 TI Georgia identified several important trends in the misuse of enforcement administrative resources, including violence, property damage, use of water cannons against demonstrators gathered at the Central Election Commission (CEC).

Violent incidents were especially frequent in the municipalities of Marneuli, Bolnisi, and Dmanisi from the second half of September.

According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA), as of October 20, an investigation had been launched into 59 cases that may be related to the elections in one way or another. The investigation of 6 cases has been terminated, while the investigation of the remaining 53 cases is still ongoing. In 9 of these 53 cases, certain individuals have been prosecuted. The MIA has not released the updated statistics since October 20. Due to the low number of cases investigated, the MIA has become the subject of frequent criticism”, writes TI Georgia.

In its report the NGO also mentioned that on November 8 law enforcers initially used water cannons against demonstrators gathered at a protest rally in front of the Central Election Commission (CEC) building without proper grounds and warning.

During the protest rally, journalists were hindered, some of them were injured and their technical equipment was damaged.

See the full article here.