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Citizens loitering outside polling stations created the impression of voter intimidation – IRI
 Citizens loitering outside polling stations created the impression of voter intimidation – IRI
29 October, 2016
According to the International Republican Institute’s long-term observation mission report, citizens loitering outside polling stations created the impression of voter intimidation on 8 October.

“IRI observers across the country consistently reported loitering near and around polling stations in both urban and rural environments. In most cases, observers noted groups of 10 to 15 men in civilian clothing standing in clusters, creating an intimidating environment for voters and even dissuading some of them from voting. When observers often questioned these groups regarding the purpose of their presence, most responded that they were there for a social event that brought neighbors together. While the veracity of these explanations could not be verified, the groups created the impression of being connected to the security apparatus. This 10 observation was confirmed by multiple political stakeholders across the country, and was rumored to have been a method employed by the ruling party to influence voters”, says the report.

According to the IRI, the opposition party UNM reported instances of post-election violence against their candidates and supporters,

“In Boriti Village (Imereti) on October 10, the UNM-appointed member of Precinct Election Commission #48.51.7 and his family were visited by the head of the Kharagauli Municipality, a local government official, the GDDG local coordinator, and a number of unidentified village inhabitants and assaulted because of their support for UNM. While the alleged perpetrators deny the incident, IRI observers visited the individuals and were given photographic evidence of bodily harm and bruising to the UNM supporter and his son. The case is currently being investigated by local police under Article 125 of the Georgian Criminal Code, but charges have yet to be filed”, says the report.

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