"Georgian Dream - Democratic Georgia”
856638
46.94%
“United National Movement”
477053
26.14%
Minor Violations Observed at the Presidential Elections Cannot Influence the Election Results
Minor Violations Observed at the Presidential Elections Cannot Influence the Election Results
Two hours before the polling process is over at the Presidential Elections of October 27, Human Rights Center’s head office contacted its observers. Based on the information provided by our observers, we can declare that minor violations observed in the selected regions, where we have sent our monitors, cannot influence the election results.

Observers of the Human Rights Center state that some violations, which could not impact the election results, were eradicated by the PEC members based on the remarks of our observers.

Human Rights Center monitors Presidential Elections in eight regions of Georgia: Kakheti, Imereti, Shida Kartli, Kvemo Kartli, Adjara, Guria, Mtskheta-Mtianeti and Samegrelo. On October 27, 75 observers of the organization are mobilized in the towns and villages of 29 districts throughout Georgia.

By the end of the day, Human Rights Center’s observers filed 11 complaints on significant violations and left 32 notes in the log book. Their complaints mostly referred to the lack of ballot papers in precincts.

Main tendencies

According to the information provided by the observers of the Human Rights Center, today’s Presidential Election is going on in more fair and peaceful environment than previous elections.

We have not observed organized delivery of voters to election precincts by mini-buses and their control by the coordinators of political parties that was common problem during previous elections; in most cases similar facts hindered the polling process. So-called coordinators of the United National Movement were particularly active in this direction during previous elections; Human Rights Center evaluated this fact as oppression on observers. We appreciate that neither former nor acting ruling party use massive mobilization of voters at the October 27 Presidential Elections.

Number of special election precincts was significantly reduced and MIA and Defense Ministry timely informed the society about it. Military servants and big part of MIA officers were allowed to vote according to their residential places. Declaring a high alert in military units was sort of tendency during previous elections for what officers of law enforcement agencies could not vote according to their registration places. In parallel to it, in the special election precincts, where they votes, the former ruling party United National Movement used to gain 100% of votes.

Lack of ballot papers is still a problem of the election process; this violation was observed during last year parliamentary elections. Commission members state that meager insufficiency of ballot papers will not hinder the process because they do not expect 100% activity of voters in PSs. Human Rights Center does not agree with this allegation and suggest the CEC to eradicate this problem.

Like during past elections, we observed representatives of unknown nongovernmental organizations, who cannot name the year when their NGO was founded and who is its chairperson. Supposedly, these “observers” represent satellite organizations of different election subjects. Although it is not violation of the law, it casts doubt over the fairness of the election process.

One more shortcoming observed during the ongoing presidential elections is annulment of the ballot papers, where all presidential candidates are crossed; in similar ballot papers voters demonstrate their protest to every candidate. According to the acting law, similar ballot papers will be annulled during counting process that will significantly damage the general statistics of the voters’ will. It is a step back because during previous elections voters were allowed to demonstrate their protest and there was a special column in the final protocol, where the number of votes vs everybody was also recorded.

Human Rights Center did not change its tradition and pays particular attention to the polling process in the villages of ethnic minorities in Kakheti and Kvemo Kartli. Elections were held in peaceful and fair environment in the villages, where previously voters were deprived of right to free choice. At the same time, the law activity of voters is noticeable. Except some occasions, which were observed by our observers, voters were not brought to the precincts by mini-buses, particularly oppression in favor of any candidate.

Our observers are sent in several villages close to the conflict zone in Shida Kartli. The main problem was created by the regime established by the Russian occupation army, for what Citizens of Georgia trapped in the occupied territories did not have chance to cross the de-facto border and participate in the elections. Human Rights Center reported about the blocked de-facto borders a few days ago.

Violations and Shortcomings

Observers of Human Rights Center reported from several precincts that election subjects have two representatives in one precinct. Expert of election issues Nina Khatiskatsi, who observes presidential elections on behalf of Human Rights Center, states that presence of two representatives of one election subject in election precincts is wrong interpretation of the Article 42 of the Election Coda. It breaches the requirement of the Article 8 Part 15 of the same code, which states that each election subject can have one representative at the precinct. Wrong interpretation of the Article 42 of the Election Code by the CEC is caused by the fact that CEC refers to the presidential elections as parliamentary elections and does not consider that political party or election block is not election subject in the presidential elections but the presidential candidate of the political party or initiative group. Thus, it is violation to allow two representatives of political parties and election blocks to be in the election commission.
One more shortcoming observed during the ongoing presidential elections is annulment of the ballot papers, where all presidential candidates are crossed; in similar cases voters demonstrate their protest to every candidate. According to the acting law, similar ballot papers will be annulled during counting process that will significantly damage the general statistics of the voters’ will. It is a step back because during previous elections voters were allowed to demonstrate their protest and there was a special column in the final protocol, where the number of votes vs everybody was also counted.

Georgian Dream’s presidential candidate Margvelashvili had two observers in precincts # 31 and 94 in Khelvachauri DEC. Our observer Maka Malakmadze asked the commission chairwoman at PS # 31 Rusudan Turmanidze, why one election subject had two observers in one polling station. She said it is cold outside and allowed the second observer to enter the building. As for PS # 94, the commission chairperson eradicated the error after we interfered.

In Tamarisi village, Marneuli district, mini-bus is moving from the early morning in PEC # 21 and brings voters to the PS. Human Rights Center’s observer reported about it. “This mini-bus has been bringing voters to the PS from early morning and then returns back. We tried to talk with the driver but he said he is a volunteer and nobody pays money to him for the transportation of voters; he does not serve any political party either. Simply, it was his kind will to assist his neighbors to get to the precinct.” Observer from the Human Rights Center said that observer from the Georgian Dream several times approached the mini-bus and talked with the voters getting out of the bus and the driver. It is noteworthy that voters are most active in this precinct unlike other precincts of Marenuli district. 300 voters have already participated in the polls there whilst voters are very passive in other precincts and their number has reached only 100. Our observers tried to find out the situation with the commission chairperson. He said the population is brought to the precinct from Svaneti district because it is located far from the precinct. Commission chairperson said he does not know who organized the transportation of the voters.

Eleven people voted in PEC # 48 in Marneuli DEC so that the registration seal did not have special carves on it. Three of five registrars forgot to carve their seals. In accordance to the law, special carves shall be put on the seal before the precinct is opened after the lot. Carve is another regulation tool to avoid election fraud. Human Rights Center’s observer made a special note about the violation in the log-book. The commission chairperson eradicated the problem and put carves on the seals. The votes of 11 persons might be annulled during counting of the votes. The commission will cast lot on the issue and make relevant decision with majority of votes.

An incident occurred in the polling station # 1 in Kareli DEC # 33. Commission chairperson Manana Tsotsolashvili did not allow an observer of the Transparency International – Georgia to write a complaint. Chairperson is member of the Georgian Dream. Observer was going to write a complaint about insufficient number of ballot papers. Observer of the Human Rights Center informed us about it. “Commission member was shouting at the observer and did not allow her to write a complaint. Then CM was called on the phone and supposedly suggested to allow the observer to write a complaint. Afterwards, TI – Georgia’s observer wrote a complaint,” Mari Otarashvili said.

Several commission members were not included in the special list at Polling Station # 83 in Zugdidi district. The Commission chairperson said he would write the names of the commission members in the list. Despite the protest of the observers, the chairperson added commission members’ names in the special list. Human Rights Center’s observer Tamar Lukava reported that she filed a complaint and informed the Central Election Commission about it. “CEC promised to immediately eradicate the problem; they will arrive at the PS, draw up a protocol and remove the handwritten names from the list.

Human Rights Center observes the Presidential Elections with financial assistance of the Open Society Georgia – Foundation, US Embassy of Georgia and National Endowment for Democracy (NED). The projects aim to monitor pre-election process and the Election Day. Part of observers will stay in precincts all day long on October 27; but we also have mobile groups of observers, who visit several precincts throughout the day.

On behalf of Human Rights Center, election expert Nina Khatiskatsi monitors the election in Tbilisi. In addition to that, she trained observers of Human Rights Center on election procedures. Representatives of international organization Norwegian Helsinki Committee also monitor the elections on behalf of the Human Rights Center.

Journalistic component is significant part of the Human Rights Center’s projects. Our online magazine www.humanrights.ge systematically publishes publications about ongoing pre-election processes and violations prepared by our correspondents in different regions of Georgia. Humanrights.ge actively works on the Election Day and updates the society about violations which are observed by our monitors in different districts.

Human Rights Center will update society with the information about ongoing election procedures from the Media Center created with the financial support of the Open Society Georgia. Human Rights Center intends to hold two briefings in the Media Center at 15:30 pm and 21:30 pm today. Tomorrow, on October 28, at 14:00 pm the Human Rights Center will present final assessment of the Election Day.
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