TI Georgia records 160 violations on municipal election day

  • Transparency International Georgia says that the Georgian government ‘still lacks political will to hold elections in line with top democratic standards’. Photo: Nino Alavidze/Agenda.ge. 

Agenda.ge, 3 Oct 2021 - 13:13, Tbilisi,Georgia

Transparency International Georgia (TI Georgia) says that its more than 300 representatives observing yesterday’s municipal elections in Georgia have recorded about 160 minor and serious violations on the election day across the country. 

We have filed 30 complaints and requested annulment of results in two precincts in Marneuli, in eastern Georgia,” TI Georgia says. 

TI Georgia claims that its analyses of the pre-electoral environment and election day ‘has demonstrated that the government still lacks the political will to hold elections in line with high-level democratic standards’ and that the country is still ‘far off from its ambitious election reform goals’.

It has also slammed the country’s Central Election Commission for releasing preliminary results of the elections 11 hours following the closure of electoral precincts ‘which is a deterioration of its practice’ .

TI Georgia says that most of its complaints on the election day concern alleged casting of ballots several times, violence at polling stations, verbally abusing journalists, hampering the observers’ activity, late filing of election result papers at precincts, violation of secrecy of vote and voter bribery.

It says that a new design of voting booths, which have their front cut out to prevent voters from photographing their ballots or taking the ballots out of the precinct, has questioned the secrecy of vote at smaller polling stations in regions. 

The use of remodelled voting booths should be reconsidered due to a high risk of violation of secrecy of vote. However, it is important for discussions to continue about the reduction of risks of interfering in the expression of voter will,” said the organisation.

In its recommendations, TI Georgia has called on law enforcement agencies ‘to swiftly and effectively investigate’ all alleged instances of criminal violations and precinct commissions to ‘timely fill’ election result papers ‘to dispel any concerns of undue interference.’