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International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy

Pre-Election Monitoring of October 8, 2016 Parliamentary Elections

Second Interim Report
July 17 - August 8

Publishing this report is made possible by the generous support of the American people, through the United States
Agency for International Development (USAID) and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). The views
expressed in this report belong solely to ISFED and may not necessarily reflect the views of the USAID, the United
States Government and the NED.

1. Introduction
The International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED) has been monitoring October
8, 2016 elections of the Parliament of Georgia and Ajara Supreme Council since July 1, with
support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the National
Endowment for Democracy (NED). The present report covers the period from July 18 to August
8, 2016.
2. Key Findings
Compared to the previous reporting period, campaigning by political parties and candidates has
become more intense. ISFED long-term observers (LTOs) monitored a total of 114 meetings of
electoral subjects with voters throughout Georgia, from July 18 through August 7.
As the election campaigning moved into a more active phase, the number of election violations
grew considerably. Failure of relevant authorities to take adequate actions in response to these
violations may pose a threat to free and fair electoral environment. During the reporting period
ISFED found 4 instances of intimidation/harassment based on political affiliation, 2 cases of
physical violence, 3 cases of possible vote buying, 4 cases of campaigning by unauthorized
persons, 8 cases of misuse of administrative resources, 4 cases of interference with preelection campaigning, 4 cases of use of hate speech, 7 cases of local self-governments making
changes in budgets for social and infrastructure projects; 3 cases of misconduct by election
commission members.
To summarize key trends:
Vote buying incidents grew during the pre-election period. Despite a number of legal
prohibitions, electoral subjects and their representatives continue to resort to different
methods for providing money and gifts to voters. Regrettably, response of relevant
authorities to these incidents so far has not been effective or timely, which encourages
violations. The government has not been paying proper attention to this form of political
corruption and no subjects potentially involved in vote buying have faced legal
Authorities need to probe the 3 instances of intimidation/harassment against opposition
party members and activists, which contain signs of criminal activity and misuse of
administrative resources, and pose a significant threat to pre-election environment.
During the pre-election period employees of organizations funded from the public funds
were systematically mobilized to attend campaign meetings of the ruling party. This
mostly involved meetings of Prime Minister Kvirikashvili with voters to nominate
majoritarian candidates of the party. In almost all cases, representatives of local party
offices mobilized local public servants and employees of local self-government to attend
these meetings;

Similar to the previous reporting period, some municipalities actively amended their
budgets. Although the Election Code prohibits any changes in budgets only after August
9, changes made before that allow launching of social and infrastructure projects during
the campaigning period. Although not a violation of the Election Code, such practice poses
a risk of using public financial resources to advance electoral goals. During the reporting
period ISFED found that budget changes were made and new social or infrastructural
projects were launched on 7 different occasions.
3. Recommendations
Political parties, electoral subjects and their representatives should:
refrain from such forms of campaigning that contain signs of vote buying and aim at
negatively influencing the free will of voters; prevent their candidates, party
representatives or legal entities associated with the party from transferring, promising or
incentivizing voters with money, gifts and services; refrain from offering to sign individual
contracts with voters about their election promises;
individuals nominated as MP candidates who remain in their public office should refrain
from participating in events funded from the state budget;
during pre-election meetings and campaigning refrain from using forms of expression
directed against any particular individual or a group of individuals, based on their social
status or ethnicity, race, gender, age, ethnic background, nationality, religion, sexual
orientation, gender identity, disability, language, ideology, social class or occupation.
Individuals unauthorized to participate in campaigning as defined by the Election Code
abide by applicable requirements of the Election Code and refrain from participating in
pre-election campaigning.
The Central Election Commission should:
ensure fulfillment of requirements of electoral legislation and take adequate and timely
measures of liability against violations;
Local self-governments (LSG) should:
ensure smooth and indiscriminate access of political parties to buildings that have been
designated as potential venues for pre-election events;
prevent participation of their employees in election campaigning during working hours;
maintain political neutrality and prevent use of municipal financial or human resources to
advance interests of a political party;
inform LSG employees about their rights and responsibilities during the pre-election
The Inter-Agency Commission for Free and Fair Elections and law enforcement authorities
examine all incidents summarized in this report and take adequate further actions.


Instances of Political Harassment/Intimidation

A political party, Paata Burchuladze State for the People reported that their supporter and an
employee of Vani Municipality Soso Chitorelidze was verbally and physically assaulted in the
office of Georgian Dream. According to the party, Vani Municipality Gamgebeli Zaza Khurtsidze,
his deputy Lasha Giorgadze, Sakrebulo Chair Aleksandre Liluashvili and Georgian Dream
majoritarian candidate in the district of Vani and Khoni - Grigol Liluashvili were present in the
office at the time.
As Head of Paata Burchuladze State for the Peoples office in Vani, Koba Dzagnidze reported
to ISFED observer, Soso Chitorelidze was summoned to the Georgian Dreams office in
connection to the natural disaster that had occurred in Vani; instead, they began harassing him
because of his son Beso Chitorelidze, who serves as a representative of Paata Burchuladze State
for the People in Vani Municipality District Electoral Commission (DEC).
In an interview with ISFED observer, Deputy Gamgebeli of Vani Municipality Lasha Giorgadze
rejected the allegation. According to him, on Saturday, July 23 Georgian Dream office indeed
hosted a meeting of majoritarian candidate Grigol Liluashvili with Vani Municipality employees
who are also supporters of the political union, Georgian Dream. He confirmed that Soso
Chotorelidze attended the meeting but maintained that no one assaulted him verbally or physically.
On July 27, 2016, members of Sakrebulo debated a motion to impeach Chair of Kharagauli
Municipality Sakrebulo Inga Maghradze.
The motion had been filed by Varlam Tavrazashvili, Chair of the faction Georgian Dream
Democratic Georgia and seconded by 20 other members of Sakrebulo.
Inga Maghradze believes that the motion of impeachment was brought against her because she is
a member of the Republican Party. According to her, the motion has to do with the upcoming
parliamentary elections. Member of Sakrebulo Varlam Chipashvili believes that the motion is the
result of a disagreement between members of Sakrebulo on a number of issues. According to him,
the disagreement is largely due to the difference in party affiliation some members belong to the
Georgian Dream while others are from the Republican Party.
During the meeting of July 27, Sakrebulo members could not secure enough votes for

Supporter of the United National Movement, Tamar Bedianashvili reported that employee of
Gldani Gamgeoba - lead specialist Ilia Mirotadze - threatened her and other residents of
Giorgitsminda Village to revoke their status of the socially vulnerable and take away social
benefits granted by the local self-government unless they support the Georgian Dream
Democratic Georgia in the upcoming elections. On August 5, some residents of Giorgitsminda
Village staged a rally outside Gldani Gamgeoba to protest the harassment.
According to Tamar Bedianashvili, having learned that she was a supporter and an activist of the
United National Movement, Ilia Mirotadze insulted her and threatened to discontinue her social
benefits. She also stated that Ilia Mirotadze is harassing residents of Giorgitsminda in their homes
and threatening to take away all their benefits, including free fuel and free dinners, unless they
support the Georgian Dream. On several occasions he refused to let local eligible children to
participate in summer camps for the socially vulnerable, sponsored by the Gamgeoba.
According to another resident of Giorgitsminda, Khatuna Ksovreli, Ilia Mirotadze threatened to
revoke her status of as a mother of several children and to remove her from the program of free
dinners. He said that he would force her to pay for all social benefits she had already received,
unless she supported the Georgian Dream.
Representative of Gldani Gamgeoba Public Relations Office, Dea Jikia stated that Gamgebeli
examined these reports but no evidence was found.
According to Tamar Bedianashvili, initial conflict between her and Ilia Mirotadze occurred about
an issue unrelated to politics (water from Bedianashvilis yard had spilled over to the main road),
and political affiliation or elections did not come up during this incident.
Activists of the United National Movement have not presented any evidence to prove the above
threats. It appears that Tamar Bedianashvili and Khatuna Ksovreli had a conflict with Ilia
Mirotadze on previous occasions. In particular, in January 2016, Bedianashvili did not receive
firewood within a government program for providing firewood to socially vulnerable families. She
believes that the incident had to do with the fact that she supports the UNM party.
Ksovreli had a conflict with Mirotadze in May 2016, over the Easter grocery basket provided to
the socially vulnerable in a soup kitchen. She expressed her concern over poor quality of grocery
products. She also alleges that her children were not allowed to participate in a governmentsponsored summer camp for the socially vulnerable, which she believes was due to her political
sympathy towards the UNM.
Representative of the Social Service Agency of the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs, Tata
Gamkrelidze maintains that a local self-government employee cannot influence introduction r
revoking of socially vulnerable status of individual citizens in any way.

On July 28, in a Kakheti Information Center report Tamila Gurashvili talks about political
harassment by Gamgebeli of the Municipality and the head of the local cultural center 1. Tamila
Gurashvili works at the cultural center as a courier. She is also the head of Free Georgias local
party office in Dediplistskaro, while her son Tornike Gurashvili is a chairperson of the
Dedoplistkaro youth organization of Paata Burchuladze State for the People. Ms. Gurashvili
believes she is harassed because of her political activities.
In an interview with ISFED observer, Tamila Gurashvili stated that Gamgebeli Nikoloz Janiashvili
summoned her on July 21 or 22 (she cannot remember exact date) and threatened to dismiss her
from work because of her political activities. Ms. Gurashvili has also accused the head of the
cultural center, Nona Jibghashvili of political harassment at the workplace. She said that Nona
Jibghashvili threatened to sack her.
ISFED observer interviewed Gamgebeli but he rejected Ms. Gurashvilis allegations and said that
her statements are not true. According to Gamgebeli, it was not the first time Gurashvili had made
false accusations about harassment and intimidation.

5. Possible Vote Buying

Election advertising aimed at undermining Georgian territorial integrity and
sovereignty by political union Centrists, and their contracts with voters about Russian
On July 20, 2016, during his appearance on Kvemo Kartli TV, Temur Khachishvili, leader of a
political union Centrists, urged voters to register at the office of Centrists in Rustavi if they wanted
to receive Russian pension in the amount of 400 laris.
According to Khachishvili, purpose of the registration was to:
1) register individuals that would receive Russian pension in the future and identify displaced
people that wish to go back home;
2) the Russian Government wants to know how many Georgian citizens are interested in receiving
their pension.
During his appearance, Khachishvili also stated that individuals that would register before October
8 would receive their pension starting from 2017, while late registrants would not receive the
pension until 2018.
The political union Centrists, in the name of its leader, Mr. Khachishvili, was offering to sign
individual contracts with voters. 2 According to these contracts:
1. interested pensioners of Georgia would receive Russian pension in the amount of GEL 400,
fifty days after the parliamentary elections;
2. the process of returning displaced people back to Abkhazia and South Ossetia would begin
in 100 days and continue before the end of 2017, when territorial integrity of Georgia would
be restored;
3. visa-free regime between Georgia and Russia would be established in late 2016;
4. Georgia would join the Eurasian Union and Russian market would become accessible for
Georgian exports;
5. gambling would be prohibited in urban areas.
According to the contracts, voters undertake an obligation to participate in elections.
Political union Centrists was promising a pension in the amount of GEL 400 as an incentive for
voters. The pension would be sponsored by the Russian Federation, not the Georgian state budget.
This way, the party was trying to entice voters with funds from a hostile foreign countrys budget.
This is a violation of election legislation and principles of political party activity.

Contracts are available at the official website of the Centrists:

According to the decision made by the Central Election Commission (CEC) of Georgia, political
union Centrists was a registered political party for the 2016 parliamentary elections 3 and therefore,
it was subject to the requirements of Article 47 of the Election Code.
Therefore, Centrists, as a registered electoral subject, were prohibited from promising money to
voters, sponsored by the Russian Federation, as clearly conveyed by the above contracts.
In light of the foregoing, the Centrists had violated para.1 of Article 47 of the Election Code and
had committed vote buying.
Consequently, ISFED filed a complaint with Tbilisi City Court seeking abolishment of electoral
registration of the party.
Representatives of the Centrists stated in court that they planned to provide pensions sponsored by
the Russian Government to citizens that voluntarily signed contracts. According to them, Russian
pensions are already secretly provided to 57,000 citizens of Georgia.
Leaders of the party informed the judge that they would not only provide Russian pensions but
also legalize Russian military bases throughout Georgia.
The court did not uphold position of ISFED, which maintained that using Russian funds for
campaigning was illegal. The court made its decision without considering the above contracts,
review of which was crucial for arriving to a proper decision.
On August 13, at 16:30, the city court announced its decision not to revoke electoral registration
of the Centrists.
The same evening Georgian Public Broadcaster aired a free political advertisement of Centrists
featuring promises about the Russian pension, legalization of Russian military bases and adoption
of dual citizenship.
ISFED believes that the campaign ad was directed against Georgias sovereignty and territorial
integrity, in blatant violation of para.3, Article 45 of the Election Code. ISFED filed a subsequent
complaint with the CEC seeking imposition of a fine for the violation concerned and removal of
the campaign video from public space.
On August 15, the Public Registry published a statement that the party Centrists had no authorized
representative since 2006. It held that notarized documents of the partys assembly were not valid
and concluded its proceedings on August 1. According to the legal files, the party currently has no
person authorized for official representation.
Based on the above conclusion, the CEC abolished electoral registration of the political union.

The information is available at:

ISFED believes that the Centrists violated requirements of para.3, Article 26 of the Constitution
of Georgia and principles established by the Law of Georgia on Political Unions of Citizens.
Because the CEC abolished the electoral registration, court proceedings launched on the basis of
ISFED complaint were terminated. The Appellate Court abolished the decision of the first instance
court. ISFED believes that the court should have interpreted Article 47 of the Election Code in the
context of setting contracts with voters and election campaign promises from the Russian
Federation budget. In such case, court decision would have been an important recommendation
for electoral subjects and all electoral stakeholders.
On July 27, majoritarian candidate of the civic platform New Georgia, Kamran Mamadov held a
briefing in Marneuli Center for Civic Engagement to talk about a vote buying incident. According
to Mr. Mamadov, Ragim Askerov - head of the election campaign for the UNMs majoritarian
candidate Azer Suleimanov - provided a disability wheelchair to M.B.
To verify this report, ISFED observer met with members of M.B.s family. They confirmed the
fact and said that they had applied to the candidates campaign office for assistance and had
received a wheelchair free of charge.
Under Article 252 of the Law on Political Union of Citizens, it is prohibited for parties to give
funds, gifts and other material or non-material possessions to citizens of Georgia directly or
indirectly, through a candidate, a representative or any other person. Under para.6, Article 342 of
the Law, accepting an illegal gift, income or service for election purposes will result in a fine for
a party, party representative or legal entity with ten times the value of property (service) or
agreement concerned if the value is less than GEL 100, and two times the value for a natural
On August 6, during Shuamtoba Festival in Beshumi, Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi
Kvirikashvili and Head of Ajara Government Zurab Pataradze gave wedding rings made of gold
to newlyweds Igor Abuladze and Natia Dekanadze as gifts.
ISFED obtained photos illustrating that Natia Dekanadze was provided with rings both by the
Prime Minister and the head of Ajara Government. Her family has confirmed that she received
two rings.
Parties are legally prohibited from providing material or non-material possessions to voters,
including through their representatives or other persons, for election purposes. For the 2016
parliamentary elections, Prime Minister Kvirikashvili is registered with the CEC as an authorized
leader of the political union Georgian Dream Democratic Georgia. Therefore, provision of gifts
to voters by the Prime Minister during pre-election period contains signs of vote buying, as defined
by the Law of Georgia on Political Unions of Citizens. Head of Ajara Government Zurab

Pataradze, although not a registered candidate for any political subject, is actively holding preelection meetings with voters. He is considered to be one of the Georgian Dreams candidates for
the upcoming elections.
6. Misuse of Administrative Resources
On August 4, a school stadium in Satsiri Village hosted a final match of mini football, organized
by the Office of Education, Culture, Sports and Youth Affairs of Tkibuli Gamgeoba. Youth
Sakrebulo and Imereti Youth Organization were among participants of the event. The football
match was also attended by Municipality Gamgebeli Robizon Gvenetadze, Deputy Gamgebeli
Giorgi Lomtadze, Sakrebulo Chair Tamaz Kublashvili, other LSG officials, representatives of
Imereti Football Federation and Imereti Youth Association, fans and a majoritarian candidate of
the Georgian Dream, Elguja Gotsiridze. Winners were awarded at the end of the match. The
majoritarian candidate congratulated the winners and made a speech, which contained elements of
campaigning. 4
Para.7, Article 45 of the Election Code prohibits carrying out election campaigning at any
event/presentation funded from the State Budget of Georgia or the budget of local self-governing
unit. Any such action will be regarded as the misuse of administrative resources.
On July 18, 2016, Terjola Municipality Gamgebeli Teimuraz Japaridze arrived at a meeting
organized by the Georgian Dream in a vehicle under the ownership of Terjola Municipality
Gamgeoba (Mitsubishi Pajero, license plate number TE-041-RJ). The vehicle was parked outside
the local office of Georgian Dream Democratic Georgia in Terjola.
The meeting was attended by members and activists of the Georgian Dream, nearly 700 people.
They were getting ready to leave for Kutaisi to attend nomination of majoritarian candidates.
Use of the vehicle owned by local municipality for party purposes amounts to abuse of
administrative resources.
Under Article 48 of the Election Code of Georgia, any person having the right to participate in
campaigning is prohibited from using administrative resources in the course of the election
campaign in support of or against any political party, candidate of electoral subject, or electoral
subject. Under para.c of the above Article, it is also prohibited to use means of transportation
owned by state authorities or local self-government bodies. ISFED found out that Gamgebeli
arrived at the Georgian Dreams local office in a vehicle owned by the municipality, as proven by

At 16:00 on August 5, officials and other employees of Municipality Gamgeoba and Sakrebulo,
employees of municipal cleaning service, office of culture, kindergarten and school teachers, and
Gamgebeli representatives in every village, all gathered and left for Telavi in order to attend party
convention of the Georgian Dream Democratic Georgia.
A driver of Dedoplistskaro-Tbilisi minibus stated that on August 4, Chair of the Georgian Dream
local office Davit Alughishvili strictly warned all minibus drivers not to make any rounds between
Dedoplistskaro and Tbilisi on August 5. Instead, they had to provide transportation for participants
of the Georgian Dream convention in Telavi. The driver also stated that they were promised to
receive a payment of GEL 100 and fuel.
At 16:00 on August 5 (during working hours), employees of offices that work under Sighnaghi
Municipality left to attend a meeting of the Georgian Dream Democratic Georgia in Telavi.
During the meeting the Prime Minister nominated majoritarian candidates for Kakheti electoral
At 16:00 nearly all local government offices in Sighnaghi were closed.
At 14:00 on August 5, 2016 (during working hours) Gamgebeli of Sagarejo Giorgi Gzirishvili and
other employees of Gamgeoba left for Telavi to attend the meeting of the Georgian Dream
Democratic Georgia.
In days leading up to the meeting, the Georgian Dream Democratic Georgia was making efforts
to ensure maximum turnout to the meeting in Telavi. Members of the party were recruiting
kindergarten and school teachers, while school principals were ordered to bring at least 5 teachers
to the meeting. Transportation and all additional costs were covered by the Georgian Dream
Democratic Georgia.
On August 5, 2016, members of the Georgian Dream stopped and inspected vehicles driving to
Telavi to see if number of passengers was what they had requested. No other types of harassment
or intimidation were observed.
On July 18, during the Georgian Dreams pre-election meeting Prime Minister Kvirikashvili
presented majoritarian candidates.
ISFED found out that kindergarten and public school teachers in Kutaisi had been mobilized to
attend the meeting. According to a teacher at Kutaisi no.5 Kindergarten, all employees had been
told to arrive at the City Hall at 6pm and were transported to the event at 8pm.

Busses that had to transport teachers and other public school employees to the pre-election meeting
were parked outside the public school no.14 (among them, license plate numbers QQD-158 and
BB-360-BS). They were accompanied by the Georgian Dream activists wearing campaign Tshirts.
Under Article 49 of the Election Code of Georgia, a person having the right to participate in
campaigning, who holds an office within the state authorities or local government bodies, is
prohibited to use his/her official status or capacity in the course of agitation and election campaign
in support of or against any political party, candidate for electoral subject, or electoral subject,
including: getting any career subordinate or otherwise dependent person involved in an activity
that may support to presentation and/or election of a candidate; collecting signatures and
campaigning during business trips funded by state authorities or local self-government bodies;
campaigning during working hours and/or in the course of performing official duties.
Violation of the above requirements amounts to abuse of administrative resources.
On August 1-2, a flag of the political union Georgian Dream Democratic Georgia was mounted
on the roof of a kindergarten in the central area of Lesa Village, the fact that neither the village nor
the kindergarten managers were aware of. Head of Lanchkhuti Municipality Childcare Center
Davit Tsuladze informed ISFED observer that they learned about the incident from local press.
According to Tsuladze, no one knows who mounted the flag or when it was installed. As a result,
a warning was issued against Mr. Tsuladze as a measure of disciplinary liability, and a severe
reproof was issued against district supervisor Gvantsa Chkhartishvili for ineffective supervision. 5
On July 25, public school teachers in Lanchkhuti were transported to Ozurgeti to attend a meeting
with the Prime Minister of Georgia in a bus under the ownership of Incomplete Basic Education
School of Kviani village. Head of Lanchkhuti Resource Center Nino Chitadze told ISFED observer
that a school bus had not been used to transport the teachers and maintained that the bus had been
borrowed by a local government official Temur Aleksaia (Member of Sakrebulo from Nigoti
Community) free of charge, and the resource center was not informed about it.
Head of the resource center claims that she was not aware of the use of school bus for political
purposes, despite the fact that determining number of participants and their transportation for the
meeting with the Prime Minister was being arranged 10-15 days prior to the event.
Chitadze says that according to the contract, the driver is authorized to use the bus for transporting
passengers once a month. The driver who transported teachers to attend the meeting with the Prime
Minister on July 25 is also a teacher at the same school. The passengers included several other
teachers along with employees of the resource center.


7. Interference with Election Campaigning

Head of the UNM office in Baghdati, Giorgi Robakidze reported problems with renting a space
for the local office.
For years the UNM had been renting a space under the ownership of the local government. As the
expiration date of the existing rent approached, they requested extension of the rent agreement
from Acting Gamgebeli. Gamgebeli took the issue to the Sakrebulo session, in which Sakrebulo
majority voted against extension of the rent, on grounds that the space had already been allocated
for the Foundation for Information Support, Ethno-Culture and Development of Tourism (a noncommercial legal entity).
ISFED observer contacted head of the Foundation Gocha Khorava to verify the information only
to find out that Mr. Khorava was not aware that Sakrebulo had allocated a space for his
On July 18, 2016, Chair of the UNM local office in Akhaltsikhe Gela Dematradze notified the
Akhaltsikhe City Hall about the location of UNMs planned meeting with voters. In their response
dated July 21, the City Hall stated that the designated place for public assemblies in Akhaltsikhe
was the territory outside Meskheti Drama Theatre; and requested the UNM to hold the assembly
at this location in compliance with the requirements of the Law of Georgia on Assemblies and
Akhaltsikhe City Hall does not have the authority to instruct where to hold a rally. Under Article
25 of the Constitution of Georgia, everyone, except members of the armed forces and Ministry of
Internal Affairs, has the right to public assembly without arms either indoors or outdoors without
prior permission. Under the law of Georgia on Assemblies and Manifestations, local executive
authorities should be notified in advance if an assembly or a manifestation concerned is held on a
carriageway or is blocking traffic. 6
The Mayor commented on the issue with journalists and explained that all they did was offer an
alternative venue for the meeting, without restricting activities of the UNM in any way.
Regardless, on July 24 the UNM held a meeting where it was originally planning to.


On August 5, Head of the UNM Local Office Kakha Askurava organized a rally on gas supply
issues with participation of local population of the village Nigoiti-Kviani at the border of ShukhutiNigoeti village. At the beginning of the rally, former Gamgebeli and an activist of the United
National Movement announced that previous government had been planning to connect the village
to the gas network by 2015. He also stated that the government is now making false promises to
take care of the gas supply problems in the village in 2017. Several other activists of the United
National Movement, press and head of Rustavi 2 regional office in Guria, Vladimer Menabde were
present at the rally. In a few minutes Village Trustee Vasil Baramadze and Majoritarian Member
of Sakrebulo Temur Aleksaia arrived at the scene. Village heads were trying to convince the local
population that it was impossible to solve the problems by staging a rally, saying that works to
connect the village to gas network had already begun.
A verbal confrontation between organizers of the rally and Mr. Aleksaia ensued but no other
incidents were observed.
On July 27, 2016, the UNMs office in Lagodekhi received a notice from Gamgebeli of Lagodekhi
Municipality to vacate premises because their lease contract had expired. The space is located at 2
Tsminda Nino Str. in Lagodekhi, inside the building of a movie-theatre. Interestingly, the party
was facing the same issue two years ago when on August 2, 2014, employees of the UNM local
office in Lagodekhi found that the office door had been locked. The UNM filed in court, won the
case and had the contract extended for two more years. According to Guram Kakalashvili, Head
of the UNM local office in Lagodekhi, in its decision the court stated the UNM can be required to
vacate the premises only out of proven necessity. Gamgebelis letter dated July 27, 2016, does not
provide any such necessity.
Lagodekhi Municipality Gamgebeli Karlo Jamburia commented on the issue and said that he had
already notified the UNM local office in writing twice about expiration of their lease on August 2.
He states that the space is municipality property and the municipality need it.
The UNM filed in Gurjaani District Court to challenge Gamgeobas decision to terminate the lease.
The court has admitted the complaint but it has not yet set the date of the hearing. On the other
hand, Gamgeoba filed in Gurjaani District Court on August 8, because the party has not responded
to their notice or vacated the space.


8. Acts of Violence
On August 4 in Batumi, political union Our Homeland staged a rally with participants from
different districts of Ajara. The night before, on August 3, representatives of the party were driving
in the streets of Batumi with loudspeakers, urging locals to join the rally against the United
National Movement. On August 4, from 11am, the party started mobilizing rally participants with
minibuses, at Europe Square. After addresses from the organizers, the protesters started marching
towards the UNM office, chanting. They were carrying rubber dummies of former President
Saakashvili and Turkish opposition politician Fethullah Glen, which they later set on fire outside
the UNMs office. Violent confrontation ensued; hate speech and exchange of accusations grew
into a physical clash. 7
As the UNM had called the police before the rally began, law enforcement officers and police
patrol vehicles were mobilized outside the UNMs office. They had created a corridor in an attempt
to keep the sides away from each other and were trying to stop the violent confrontation. They
detained a supporter of Our Homeland, Gia Makharadze for disorderly conduct and police
The confrontation and use of hate speech lasted for more than half an hour. Protesters were
chanting: down with the Fascists, creators of the bloody regime should be punished,
murderers; UNM supporters were chanting: Ivanishvilis slaves, Fascists, etc.
Political movement Socialist Georgia was planning to hold a founding convention at 12:00 on
August 4, in the event hall of Niko Sulkhanishvili Music School in Telavi. The convention had 3035 participants. To protest the convention, New Political Union Girchi had organized a rally
outside the music school, with participation of local population. The rally, led by Girchis
majoritarian candidate in Telavi, Toresa Mosi (Vakhtang Mosiashvili), aimed to prevent the
leaders of Socialist Georgia from going through with the convention, and to express protest against
their pro-Russian policy.
The rally was joined by a local leader of civic platform New Georgia, Tamar Lamazoshvili together
with her supporters and UNM candidate in Telavi, Giorgi Botkoveli, also with his supporters.
Several local non-governmental organizations in Telavi expressed their support for Girchis
Before beginning of the convention, Roman Kevkhishvili asked to be allowed inside the hall. He
is a journalist but was there as an ordinary citizen. Organizers of the convention and in particular,
Head of the Communist partys office in Telavi, Temur Pipia refused to let him in because of the


T-shirt that Kevkhishvili was wearing. The T-shirt bore a crossed out Soviet symbol (hammer and
sickle) and an inscription about Putin. Claiming that he had a constitutional right to attend the
meeting, Kevkhishvili continued asking to be allowed inside. Temur Pipia assaulted him and
smacked him in his face. As a result, a fight broke out.
Kevkhishvili swore at Pipia and threw an egg at him. Then he called the police and demanded that
they take action. The police arrived promptly, established facts and detained Pipia. He was taken
to Kakheti Regional Police Department. In the meantime, verbal confrontation between leaders of
the Socialist Georgia, participants of the rally and local population continued. Leaders of the
Socialist Georgia used hate speech and obscene language numerous times, against rally organizers,
participants and journalists (American pigs, nation sold for dollars, stupid capitalists,
slaves of Americans, brainless society, etc.). None of the protesters used obscene language or
hate speech.
The convention was eventually ruined. They left the scene and started marching towards the
monument of Erekle the Second. Protesters followed, whistling and chanting Georgia. Grisha
Oniani and Valeri Kvaratskhelia made speeches by the monument while protesters were chanting,
leave! Suddenly 3 former military servicemen dressed in Soviet uniforms appeared. People
protested their use of Soviet symbols. Patrol officers urged them to leave but they didnt take any
other measures against the military servicemen. Everyone was gone in about half an hour.
Later ISFED learned that investigation into the beating of Roman Kevkhishvili was launched under
para.1, Article 125 of the Criminal Code of Georgia. On August 6, court set a bail for him at GEL
1000. Next hearing is scheduled for September 9.


9. Participation of Unauthorized Persons in Election Campaign

Member of Sighnaghi DEC from the United National Movement, Nato Usenashvili was driving in
the village of Bodbe in her husbands car, visiting families and campaigning in favor of the UNM.
ISFED observer reported the fact to the DEC Chair, who then referred the information to the UNM
campaign office. Nato Usenashvili continues canvassing regardless, in favor of the UNM and their
candidate, Levan Bezhashvili. Representative of Bodbe Gamgebeli Bachuki Kotchlamazishvili
has confirmed the above fact. Often, instead of working at the commission, Nato Usenashvili
spends time at the UNMs local office in Sighnaghi.
Under para.4a of Article 45 of the Election Code, members of election commission are prohibited
from participating in election campaigning. Violation of the prohibition will result in imposition
of a fine amounting to GEL 2000. Relevant election commission is responsible for taking further
actions. In the case concerned, the DECs response was ineffective.
Employees of Ozurgeti Municipality Gamgeoba and Ozurgeti City Hall were spreading the
Georgian Dreams campaign materials through social media during working hours.
On July 22, employee of Ozurgeti City Hall Tamar Dumbadze shared photos of Georgian
Dreams meeting with voters in Tskaltubo. On July 19 she also shared a video of the
Georgian Dreams campaign launch in Imereti;
During working hours, Head of Administrative Office at Ozurgeti Municipality Gamgeoba,
Khatuna Surguladze shared the Georgian Dream's video about nomination of majoritarian
An employee of Ozurgeti City Halls Procurement Office, Aleksandre Sarishvili
(Facebook name Saro Sarishvili) shared the Georgian Dreams photos two times this week.
On August 7, Gomistoba Festival in Gomis Mta resort was attended by Guria Governor Gia
Salukvadze, Ozurgeti Gamgebeli Merab Chanukvadze and other local government officials.
Deputy Minister of Interior Affairs Archil Talakvadze, who had been nominated by the Prime
Minister as the Georgian Dreams majoritarian candidate in Ozurgeti was also in attendance.
However, reporters that interviewed Archil Talakvadze (Maia Shavadze of Maestro TV and Sopho
Zhghenti of GDS) informed ISFED long-term observer that Mr. Talakvadze stated he was
attending the festival as the Deputy Minister. In reports later aired by broadcasters, Archil
Talakvadzes interview title stated that he was a majoritarian candidate.
During the festival Talakvadze was presented by the Governor of Guria Gia Salukvadze. Reporters
cannot remember if he was presented as the Deputy Minister or as a majoritarian candidate.
Attendees recall however, that Talakvadze discussed future plans for development of Gomis Mta

Para.7, Article 45 of the Election Code prohibits carrying on election campaigning at any
event/presentation funded from the State Budget of Georgia/the budget of local self-governing
unit. Any such action will be regarded as misuse of administrative resources.
Participation of Mikheil Saakashvili in election campaigning
On July 31, 2016, in Batumi, political union United National Movement nominated majoritarian
candidates for the Parliament of Georgia and Ajara A/R Supreme Council. The nomination took
place outside the UNM local office. Former President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili, who is
currently the Governor of Odessa Oblast, addressed the audience from a video screen. Footage of
the event proves without a doubt that former president of Georgia participated in election
campaigning in violation of the campaigning rules, and was urging voters to support the UNM
majoritarian candidates. Similar incident occurred on July 11, 2016 in Marneuli and on July 14,
2016 in Akhalkalaki. Both incidents are included in ISFEDs first interim report.
Everyone can participate in election campaigning and agitation except individuals envisaged by
para.4, Article 45 of the Election Code of Georgia, which include aliens. They are legally
prohibited from spreading views in support of or against candidates for electoral subjects. Under
the Executive Order of the President of Ukraine no.301/2015, Mikheil Saakashvili was granted
Ukrainian citizenship; therefore, he is now subject to the prohibition established by Article 45 of
the Election Code.
ISFED filed a complaint with election administration with the demand to impose adequate
response to the unauthorized individual campaigning in violation of the law. However, the relevant
district election commissions decided that because Mikheil Saakashvili is a foreign national, it
would be impossible to impose administrative sanctions on him, because a foreign national can be
held liable only for a violation that he or she committed while s/he was on Georgian territory.
Decisions of the DECs are in conflict with the definition of campaigning in the Election Code and
may encourage participation of aliens in election campaigning.


10. Use of Hate Speech in Election Campaigning

Majoritarian candidate of New Georgia in Ozurgeti, Zaza Mamulashvili was formally nominated
during a meeting held on July 23. Leader of the New Georgia Giorgi Vashadze used hate speech
in his remarks and said: the government has us convinced that we are a backwards country; we
compare ourselves to Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Armenia but the truth is, we have a [great]
geographic location, a lot of intelligent people, great culture...
On July 29, 2016, Leader of the Labor Party Shalva Natelashvili held a meeting with voters in
Cholokashvili Square in Akhmeta and nominated the majoritarian candidate. The meeting was
attended by local population and members of the Labor Party local office.
In his remarks Shalva Natelashvili used hate speech and said the following about the ruling party:
well make them leave with brooms on October 8.
Batumi, Telavi
Hate speech was used during the physical clash in Batumi, at the rally held by Our Homeland
outside the UNM office. Leaders of the Socialist Georgia also used hate speech in Telavi. See
Chapter 8 of this report for detailed information.


11. Changes in Municipal Budgets

Ozurgeti Municipality Gamgeoba has announced a tender for procurement of construction
materials for August 28, 2016, and has allocated total of GEL 191,330 for this purpose. 8
Funding sources for the procurement include funds allocated under orders no.1340, 471, 34 and
1016 of the Government of Georgia. All orders, except no.1340 are dated 2014.
According to the order no.1340, the Government of Georgia, the Ministry of Finance allocated
GEL 129,534 for Ozurgeti Municipality for relief efforts following the natural disasters that
occurred in 2015-2016. The funding was allocated from the fund for regional projects in Georgia,
envisaged by the Law of Georgia on the State Budget.
Interestingly, funds allocated for relief measures in the aftermath of natural disasters that
occurred over the last few years have not been used up. As a result, in September 2016,
Ozurgeti Gamgeoba will be providing construction materials with total worth of GEL
191,330 to families affected by natural disasters.
Tender documents include Annex 3 that provides list of goods to be supplied by procurers, quantity
of these goods and where they need to be supplied. Most of the materials are intended for Chanieti
Community. Majoritarian representative of Chanieti Community is a member of the UNM, Davit
Mzhavanadze, who is also running in the upcoming parliamentary elections as the UNM candidate
for Ozurgeti.
Mzhavanadze informed ISFED observer that the authorities are trying to bribe local population by
implementing social projects, especially in communities that voted for UNM representatives in
previous elections. Two representatives of the UNM have won in local self-government elections
in Ozurgeti Davit Mzhavanadze (Chanieti) and Beso Katamadze (Daba Nasakirali).
On July 20, Shuakhevi Municipal Budget was increased by 2 million laris, as a result of taxes
collected from hydroelectric power plants that are currently under construction. Part of the above
funds was transferred to the Reserve Fund; funding for rehabilitation of roads was also allocated
(rehabilitation of the road in Lomsianeti District was fully funded. It was not previously foreseen
by the local budget). Funds were also allocated for rehabilitation of kindergartens among other


Majoritarian candidate of Free Democrats in Zugdidi, Irakli Chikovani accused Zugdidi City Hall
of using public resources to fund election campaign. He alleged that 2016 procurement plan
envisaged GEL 9,996 for TV and radio services; on March 29 the plan was amended to include
additional funding of GEL 35,904.
To verify the above statement, ISFED requested public information from Zugdidi Municipality
and found out that under Order no.602, dated March 28, 2016, Zugdidi City Hall amended the
procurement plan to increase funds for procurement of radio and TV services from GEL 9,996 to
GEL 45,900. The letter received by ISFED from Zugdidi Municipality states that the above
changes were made in view of public survey results carried out by the Youth Council of Zugdidi
City Halls Administrative Service, recommendations of Mayors council of advisors and low
awareness of local population about the work that the local self-government does.
On July 29, Akhaltsikhe Municipality Sakrebulo amended local budget 9 to increase it by GEL
202,400 for paving roads with asphalt.
Akhaltsikhe Municipality Sakrebuli explained that the budget increase was the result of property
taxes collected from enterprises, money saved from tenders and funds received from selling of
state property in Akhaltsikhe. 10
During an extraordinary meeting of Khulo Municipality Sakrebulo on August 5, funding for two
programs was debated. Khulos budget was increased by GEL 13,865 based on increasing planned
property taxes. Head of Financial Office of Khulo Gamgeoba, Nadim Vasadze stated that the above
amount together with the money saved by the Municipality (by slashing bonus fund on July 28) total of GEL 20,000 was allocated for a farmers program for development of meat processing.
At the same meeting Sakrebulo decided to allocate GEL 67,000 funding for rehabilitation of local
roads in Beshumi Resort.


On June 24, Shuakhevi Municipality Sakrebulo decided to allocate GEL 15,000 from the budget
to provide a free transportation to mountain pastures once a week. Following tender, free
minibuses started operating from July 20. Free transportation will be available for populations of
Keda, Shuakhevi and Khulo to highland pastures (nine different routes) throughout August.
On July 27, Head of the Imereti office of Free Georgia, Gogi Tsulaia reported that Kutaisi City
Hall was hiring Georgian Dream activists and other people who had contributed to Georgian
Dreams victory in previous elections. According to him, about 90 people were hired over the last
two months, and the government intends to use them for different political purposes.
According to information provided by the City Hall, since early 2016 they have hired 10 acting
employees and 3 contract employees. They have also hired contract employees for the following
non-profit (non-commercial) legal entities that operate under the City Hall: Special Services 30
contract employees; Union of Cultural, Arts and Educational Institutions 15 new employees;
Kutaisi Union of Kindergartens 12 new employees; House of Gratitude 2 new employees, and
the Union of Sports Institutions 17 new employees.


12. Official Misconduct by Election Commission Members

Lead Specialist at the Office of Infrastructure Development of Baghdati Municipality Gamgeoba,
Tatia Chumburidze was appointed as a member of Baghdati DEC on June 10. Although Tatia
Chumburidze is a civil servant, she did not take a leave from her permanent place of work until
August. This way, she was acting in the capacity of DEC member while continuing to perform her
official functions at Gamgeoba, which is a violation of the Law on Civil Service because she was
working in two different administrative agencies at the same time.
Member of Tianeti DEC from the United National Movement, Tina Bantsuri, served as a chair of
the DEC during previous parliamentary elections in 2012. In her capacity as the DEC Chair, she
received a warning once; there was another complaint filed against her with the CEC but because
she had already resigned from her office, the Commission issued an order no.460/2012 establishing
the violation and ordering the administrative department to include information about Tina
Bantsuri in the database of electoral commission members who were imposed a disciplinary
penalty for failure to perform official duties or for culpable non-performance or improper
performance of official duties. 11 According to the minutes of the CECs October 11, 2012 meeting,
Bantsuris actions contained signs of criminal offence, and the CEC Chair and the Secretary were
planning to refer the case to the law enforcement but the document did not state whether the case
was referred to the prosecutors office or not. ISFED requested information from the CEC about
Bantsuris criminal record.
According to July 30 CEC official written response to ISFED, the United National Movement
applied to the CEC to nominate Tina Bantsuri as a DEC member on June 10, 2016. The CEC also
stated that it is the responsibility of parties to abide by requirements of para.17, Article 20 of the
Election Code of Georgia.



13. Public Meetings and Pre-Election Promises

ISFED long-term observers monitored pre-election campaign of political parties in all electoral
districts. ISFED records meetings that observers attended personally. Compared to the previous
reporting period, meetings with voters have entered an active phase.
ISFED observers attended 114 public meetings of electoral subjects that took place from July 18
to August 7, 2016, including: 34 meetings by the United National Movement; 32 by the Georgian
Dream Democratic Georgia; 17 by the Free Democrats, 14 by Davit Tarkhan-Mouravi, Irma
Inashvili, Alliance of Patriots of Georgia; 4 by Paata Burchuladze State for the People; 5 by
Shalva Natelashvili Georgian Labor Party; 3 by the party Our Homeland; 1 by the Socialist
Georgia; 1 by the Leftist Alliance; 2 by independent candidates and 1 by the National Forum.
ISFED long-term observers also recorded promises made by candidates and/or political parties
during these public meetings. Below is a thoroughly accurate list of election promises made during
meetings with voters:
Georgian Dream Democratic Georgia
Completing ongoing infrastructure projects and initiating new ones; rehabilitation of roads;
Building sports complexes;
Increase of funding in health care;
Improvement of agricultural projects and their long-term development;
Building new kindergartens and rehabilitation of old ones;
Resolving local problems: water supply; installment of electricity meters; connecting
communities with gas networks; resolving water supply and sewage problems;
Promotion of tourism and development of tourism infrastructure;
Simplification of land registration procedures;
Building a 5km-long tunnel in the high disaster risk zone of Dariali Gorge.
United National Movement
Implementation of infrastructure projects: improving roads, sewage and drainage systems,
installing outdoor lighting and setting up a landfill; launching bypass railway project;
Increasing pensions by GEL 50;
Effective social benefits and increase of their funding;
Reduction of taxes;
Launching students programs;
Launching employment program and creating a comfortable environment for street
Providing benefits to small and medium businesses, especially in rural areas, including in
the field of agriculture;
Increasing value of school vouchers by at least 50% for 2017;
Abolishing financial police;

Increase of teacher salaries up to GEL 650.

Irakli Alasania Free Democrats
Implement of infrastructural projects: road rehabilitations, improving sewer systems;
Increasing pensions to GEL 300; increasing minimum wage to GEL 500;
Implementation of special projects to encourage youth to live in rural areas and their
Development of agriculture; assistance to farmers in selling their crops and finding
markets; creating cold storage systems;
Improving crop insurance conditions;
Ensuring that funds allocated from the budget for rural development is fully spend on
Tackling social problems;
Development of sports.
Davit Tarkhan-Mouravi, Irma Inashvili Alliance of Patriots of Georgia
Restoring territorial integrity, reconsidering Georgias foreign policy strive for neutral
foreign policy;
Building houses for the homeless;
Increasing pension to GEL 230;
Economic development (business ideas will be funded by the state funds);
Supporting agriculture;
Reforming education, advocacy against the new school subject Society and I;
Simplification of land registration procedures;
Empowering local governments;
Launching factories that used to operate in Soviet times and implementing infrastructure
Paata Burchuladze State for the People
Visa free regime with Europe; deepening trade relations with Russia; access to the EU
Launching of targeted social policy;
Guaranteed social benefits for four years; 50% increase of social benefits at the cost of
reducing government expenses;
Launching short-term employment programs and small projects;
Improving the system of education;
Development of new technologies;
Improving healthcare program, increase of funding for medication;
Increasing pension to GEL 250;
Development of sports.


Shalva Natelashvili Labor Party

Free higher education;
Implementation of pension reforms: decrease of retirement age to 55 years for women and
to 60 years for men; providing 13th payment (supplemental pay) for pensioners; providing
supplemental pay of GEL 100 for every year for pensioners above the age of 80;
Reduction in number of banks and microfinance institutions; prohibition of e-loans;
Promoting exports to the U.S.;
100% funding for healthcare from the state budget;
Moving casinos out of all urban areas.
National Forum
Global development;
Improving social situation by promoting small business development;
Restoration of justice
Civic Platform New Georgia
Providing benefits for small and medium enterprises;
Creation of jobs
Our Homeland
Access to the Russian market;
Visa-free regime with Russia;
Dual citizenship.


14. About the Monitoring Mission

ISFED performs monitoring of the pre-election environment in all electoral districts of Georgia
through its 68 long-term observers.
ISFEDs pre-election monitoring covers the following important areas:

Election administration activities;

Public meetings of electoral subjects and their political activities;
Promises made by electoral subjects to voters;
Cases of harassment/intimidation or alleged politically motivated dismissals;
Possible instances of vote buying;
Misuse of public resources;
Formation of voter lists, etc.

During the monitoring ISFED relies on public information requested from administrative agencies,
as well as information provided by electoral subjects, media, NGOs and individual citizens. ISFED
verifies each report by interviewing witnesses and all sides of the incident.
In addition to monitoring, ISFED reports violations during meetings of the Inter-Agency
Commission for Free and Fair Elections, to ensure that further actions are taken in a timely manner.
ISFED periodically informs the public about pre-election incidents and trends through its
statements and reports.
ISFED maps all reports of pre-election incidents and possible violations on the interactive incident
map available at the Georgian Elections Portal:
Anyone can report a possible violation to the Elections Portal by sending a text to a toll-free
number 90039 or by going to


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