30 November 2020,   02:46
Transparency International publishes interim report on misuse of administrative resources during 2020 Parliamentary Elections

Transparency International Georgia publishes interim report on misuse of administrative resources during 2020 Parliamentary Elections. The organization‘s observation of upcoming elections from July 1 to October 20, 2020 revealed the following findings in terms of the misuse of administrative resources:

“Several important trends in the misuse of enforcement administrative resources have been identified.

Violence: From the second half of September, the number of violent incidents has increased, with several cases of group violence against supporters of political parties. The municipalities of Marneuli, Bolnisi and Dmanisi were especially noteworthy in this regard. The Ministry of Internal Affairs has launched an investigation into all incidents of violence and has quickly arrested several individuals in isolated cases. According to the information provided by the Ministry, 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 already been prosecuted. Due to the low number of cases investigated, the Ministry has become the subject of frequent criticism.
Property damage: Since the second half of September, cases of damaging political party offices, vehicles, campaign materials and other types of property have also increased. In terms of investigating such facts, the Ministry of Internal Affairs was even less effective than in investigating cases of violence.
Dismissals: During the reporting period, some information has been spread about dismissal of employees of budgetary organizations allegedly on political grounds.
Problems with the composition of election commissions: As in previous elections, this year the process of selecting professionally appointed members of district and precinct election commissions also was a significant problem. Especially noteworthy is the #67 Zugdidi District Election Commission, which appointed 102 out of 642 members of its subordinate precinct commissions unlawfully, namely appointing those commissioners who were nominated by parties during the previous presidential election, which is illegal under a new regulation enacted this year. In addition, opposition political parties have reported that newly appointed members of certain district and precinct commissions were often associated in some way with the current government, work in budgetary organizations, or have close ties to members of the ruling party. Transparency International Georgia periodically checked such information and most of it was confirmed.
Using Investigative agencies to discredit political opponents: As in previous elections, the Georgian prosecutor"s office has attempted to discredit the former ruling United National Movement party by using a specific investigation. In particular, on October 7, the Office of Prosecutor General of Georgia arrested former members of the Government Commission on Delimitation and Demarcation, who were charged with violating Georgia"s territorial integrity. The timing of the investigation, the pre-election context, the signs of a selective approach to the investigation and the populist statements made by the ruling party leaders violating the presumption of innocence raise suspicions that the investigation serves electoral purposes and is aimed at creating misconceptions about political opponents for Georgian citizens”, - reads the report of TI Georgia.