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FINAL REPORT OF THE OBSERVATION MISSION

OF THE 2016 PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS

INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY FOR FAIR ELECTIONS AND DEMOCRACY


(ISFED)

2017
Tbilisi
FINAL REPORT OF THE OBSERVATION MISSION OF THE
2016 PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS

REPORT PREPARED BY

MIKHEIL BENIDZE
TAMAR BARTAIA
ELENE NIJARADZE
NINO RIJAMADZE
NINO KHITARISHVILI
TATIA KINKLADZE
TUTA CHKHEIDZE

DESIGNED BY: TEMO MACHAVARIANI

ISFED election observation mission was made possible by the generous support of the American People through the finan-
cial assistance of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The mission was also supported by the
National Endowment for Democracy (NED), Federal Foreign Office of Germany, Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands
in Georgia, and the European Union. The contents of this publication belong solely to the International Society for Fair Elec-
tions and Democracy and may not necessarily reflect the views of USAID, the United States Government, Federal Republic
of Germany, Embassy of the Kingdom of Netherlands in Georgia, European Union, or NED
CONTENT

I. ABOUT THE OBSERVATION MISSION 4


II. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 5
III. POLITICAL CONTEXT 10
IV. LEGISLATIVE REFORM 12
Electoral System 12
Other Changes in the Legislative Framework 12
V. VOTER LISTS 14
``
VI. ELECTION ADMINISTRATION 15
Central Election Commission 15
District and Precinct Election Commissions 15
Establishing Boundaries of Constituencies 15
VII. THE INTERAGENCY COMMISSION FOR FREE AND FAIR ELECTIONS 16
VIII. THE STATE AUDIT OFFICE 18
IX. PRE-ELECTION PERIOD 20
Monitoring Mission and Methodology 20
Misuse of Administrative Resources for Electoral Purposes 20
Vote Buying 21
Harassment/Intimidation on Alleged Political Grounds 22
Violence and Assaults 23
Dismissal from Work on Political Grounds 23
Participation of unauthorized individuals in pre-election campaigning 24
Hate Speech 24
X. MEDIA ENVIRONMENT 25
XI. MONITORING OF PUBLIC MEETINGS HELD BY PARTIES/ELECTORAL SUBJECTS DURING THE PRE-ELECTION PERIOD 26
XII. ELECTION DAY 28
First round of the elections 28
Rerun Elections 32
Election Runoffs 32
XIII. COMPLAINTS FILED ON AND FOLLOWING THE ELECTION DAY 36
XIV. RECOMMENDATIONS 46
I. ABOUT THE OBSERVATION MISSION

The present report summarizes results of monitoring the with disabilities in Tbilisi. In addition to the STOs, the Election
2016 Elections of the Parliament of Georgia by the Interna- Day mission also included 70 mobile teams, 73 DEC observ-
tional Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED). IS- ers, 15 lawyers and 15 operators.
FED conducted pre-election, election day and post-election
monitoring of the 2016 Parliamentary elections throughout ISFED observed the rerun elections of October 22 in all four
Georgia. It monitored the first round of the 2016 Parliamenta- electoral precincts and both DECs in Zugdidi no.66 and Mar-
ry elections on October 8, rerun elections on October 22 and neuli no.36 majoritarian election districts.
runoffs on October 30.
ISFED monitored the runoffs on October 30, 2016 in 50
ISFED carried out the pre-election monitoring3 of the Octo- election districts of Georgia. ISFED monitoring mission for
ber 8, 2016 Parliamentary elections through 68 long-term the runoffs consisted of over 600 STOs, 42 mobile teams and
observers (LTOs) in all election districts3 of Georgia over the observers assigned to each DEC. Similar to the first round of
period of three months1 prior to the Election Day. Areas of the parliamentary elections, ISFED relied on PVT for mon-
focus of the pre-election monitoring included: use of admin- itoring the runoffs. ISFED assigned 452 STOs to randomly
istrative resources, activities of the election administration selected national representative sample of polling stations.
and political parties, formation of voter lists, acts of political ISFED observers were also present in all precincts of the fol-
harassment, intimidation and vote buying. lowing election districts: Marneuli no.36, Akhaltsikhe-Adigeni
no.44, Kutaisi no.49 and Zugdidi no.66. For the runoffs ISFED
Pre-election monitoring of the runoffs on October 30 was staffed its incidents and SMS centers in the central office
conducted by 38 LTOs of ISFED in 50 election districts with 10 operators and 11 lawyers.
where majoritarian MP candidates could not clear 50%+1
threshold in the first round of the parliamentary elections. ISFED monitored the post-election period after the first round
by means of 68 observers and lawyers. ISFED observation
The Election Day observation covered the following four focused on activities of the election administration, com-
components: opening and setting up of polling stations, the plaints process in DECs and the creation of summary proto-
process of voting, counting of votes and tabulation of results. cols. A total of 42 ISFED observers monitored the post-elec-
ISFED observation mission for the October 8, 2016 Parlia- tion period following the runoff elections.
mentary elections comprised of nearly 1000 accredited and
trained observers deployed in precinct, district and central Based on the analysis of irregularities detected during the
electoral commissions. ISFED short-term observers (STOs) observation, ISFED developed recommendations with the
monitored the process of voting and tabulation in PECs purpose of improving the electoral legislation and environ-
through the Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT) methodology4 . ment. The present report provides an account of observation
ISFED deployed 600 STOs to randomly selected national results and introduces subsequent recommendations.
representative sample of polling stations throughout Georgia,
195 STOs to potentially problematic precincts and to pre-
cincts particularly worthwhile for observation5 , 10 STOs were
assigned to polling stations adapted to the needs of persons

1 The long-term observation of the pre-election period for the first round of the elections ran from July 1 to October 7.
2 Pre-election monitoring of the runoffs ran from October 9 to October 27.
3 Mtatsminda, Vake, Saburtalo, Krtsanisi, Isani, Samgori, Chughureti, Didube, Nadzaladevi, Gldani, Sagarejo, Gurjaani, Lagodekhi, Kvareli, Telavi, Akhmeta, Mtskheta, Rustavi, Marneuli, Gardabani, Kaspi, Gori,
Khashuri, Akhaltsikhe, Adigeni, Kutaisi (three majoritarian districts), Kharagauli, Baghdati, Zestaponi, Chiatura, Lanchkhuti, Ozurgeti, Chokhatauri, Poti, Senaki, Abasha, Khobi, Zugdidi, Tsalenjikha, Chkhorotsku,
Batumi (three majoritarian districts), Kobuleti, Khelvachauri, Keda.
4 PVT is an election observation methodology that enables detection of irregularities in a timely manner, evaluation of the entirety Election Day process and verification of accuracy of official results. PVT relies on
statistical methods and information and communication technology (ICT) to provide accurate and timely information about the process of voting and tabulation. PVT provides the most accurate and timely informa-
tion on the conduct of voting and counting and is the only methodology that can independently verify accuracy of the official results as announced by the electoral commission.
5 Electoral precincts that proved to be problematic in terms of irregularities or conflict situations on the basis of the three most recent elections (the parliamentary elections of 2012, the presidential elections of 2013
and the local self-government elections of 2014), as well as electoral precincts where competition between parties and/or candidates in the 2012 parliamentary elections and in the 2014 local self-governmental
elections was a close race.

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II. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

ELECTORAL REFORM was held about the need to reform election administration
composition at the relevant CSO recommendations were
Ahead of the 2016 Parliamentary elections, civil society left without consideration. The parliament did not support
organizations, political parties and other stakeholders were introduction of mandatory gender quotas as a temporary
actively discussing and urging the authorities to reform measure for increasing women participation in politics.
the electoral system. In this regard, the CSOs and politi-
cal parties proposed specific recommendations. However, In light of the above, ISFED believes that a comprehensive
regrettably, the government showed lack of political will for and substantial electoral reform that would have improved
any substantial changes in the electoral system. Although, the election environment has not been implemented. The
as per the ruling of the Constitutional Court, changes were new parliament and the government should carry out a
introduced in territorial boundaries of majoritarian election reform of the electoral system and introduce other essential
districts so that the difference between the numbers of legislative changes without delay.
voters among the constituencies did not exceed 15%. In
addition, the 30% election threshold for electing a majoritari- ELECTION ADMINISTRATION
an MP was increased to 50%+1.
All three tiers of the election administration mostly worked in
Changes were also introduced in rules about voting at abidance by the principles of openness and transparency.
special polling stations, presence of police outside a polling Election stakeholders and other interested parties had unob-
station for safety purposes and several other rules. structed access to public information, commission meetings
and decisions made by the election administration. ISFED
To the dismay of the expectations, the authorities did not set welcomes steps made by the election administration for
up a working group to discuss changes in the electoral leg- participation of ethnic minorities in the electoral process and
islation with participation of all stakeholders. No discussion

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for adapting polling stations to the needs of persons with
disabilities. The CEC campaigns for raising voter awareness
were also positive.

However, certain shortcomings were detected in the work of


the CEC, as well as district and precinct election commis-
sions.

A particular issue of concern is the PEC composition pro-


cess, which mostly lacked transparency and clarity. The
selection of professional PEC members by the district elec-
tion commissions (DEC) seemed to be based on preexisting
lists in the hands of the DEC members. This gave rise to
suspicions about selection of some PEC members based on
political affiliation instead of objective criteria.

During the pre-election period the CEC made a few contro-


versial decisions, some of which may have fallen within legal
requirements from a formal point of view but their practical
implementation triggered significant glitches, while others
set a dangerous precedent. Such decisions concerned
issues like registration of some political parties in violation of
requirements of the law; determination of sequence number
for some electoral subjects; narrow interpretation of the sta-
tus of charity organizations for electoral purposes; revoking
the registration of the electoral bloc Topadze - Industrialists,
Our Homeland6.

PRE-ELECTION PERIOD

During the pre-election period political parties and candi-


dates were able to conduct their campaigns in a competitive The pre-election process was marked by violent incidents in
environment. Electoral subjects enjoyed equal access to the final days before the elections, including the explosion
media and freedom to deliver their pre-electoral messages of the car of opposition MP Givi Targamadze, assault with a
to voters. However, ISFED identified a number of violations firearm on an opposition majoritarian candidate, and physi-
during the pre-election period, including alleged political cal assault on activists of the ruling party.
intimidation/harassment; campaigning by unauthorized
persons; damaging of agitation materials, interference with The pre-election campaigning was negatively affected by
election campaigning; and vote buying incidents. However, release of illegally recorded videos allegedly depicting per-
these violations were not large-scale or massive irregularities sonal lives of politicians. These videos also contained threats
that would have raised serious suspicions about compliance against politically active individuals and demands that they
of the elections with democratic standards. abandon politics; otherwise, details of their personal lives
would be disclosed. Such attempts to blackmail individuals
active in political and public areas had the apparent aim of
6 For detailed assessment of these issues please see Chapter VI of this Report
discrediting the political spectrum.

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During the active phase of the election campaign, audio re- To offset the effects of the ruling partys use of administra-
cordings of a conversation that allegedly took place between tive resources, some opposition parties were tying to entice
Mikheil Saakashvili, former president of Georgia, and some voters by promising different types of material and non-ma-
United National Movement (UNM) members was leaked on terial resources through their representatives or candidates.
the Internet. The recordings suggested that these individu- The State Audit Office (SAO) mostly responded to reported
als were debating a revolutionary scenario for the electoral violations in a timely manner; however, SAOs mandate to
processes. Leaking of the recording was preceded by state- study alleged facts of vote buying is limited, while whenever
ments made by representatives of the ruling political party, it referred a case to a court the latter failed to provide an
alleging that the UNM was planning to cause a destabiliza- adequate legal evaluation.
tion and unrest for the elections. The investigation after the
leaks was not effective as investigative authorities have not An important trend was the use of hate speech by electoral
yet established authenticity of the recordings or examined subjects and their representatives; for some electoral sub-
the fact of illegal wiretapping. jects hate speech became their niche. Davit Tarkhan-Moura-
vi, Irma Inashvili Alliance of Patriots of Georgia were
Cases of political harassment and intimidation of party activ- infamous for their discriminatory statements. Dissemination
ists began to appear 2 months before the Election Day and of these statements was promoted by Obiektivi TV a televi-
became more frequent as the elections drew near. Repre- sion company affiliated with the party.
sentatives of opposition parties reported verbal harassment,
threats to revoke social assistance and other forms of intimi- Law enforcement was adequately mobilized at nearly
dation to ISFED observers. Although no massive acts of vio- all large-scale meetings organized by parties and safety
lence occurred, as the elections drew near, alarming instanc- measures were followed. However, acts of interference with
es of physical confrontation between political opponents and campaigning were still detected. In most of such cases,
activists were detected. Response of relevant authorities to campaign events were attended by activists of other parties
alleged acts of harassment against candidates was ineffec- that held opposing views or by local self-government em-
tive and inefficient. In a number of instances, investigation ployees, who attempted to interfere with campaigning which
was launched and the Interagency commission studied the often led to confrontations.
facts in question but these measures remain pending even
after the elections. Acts of harassment and intimidation in Over the last few years there have been fewer cases of
between the first and second rounds of the elections were dismissals of civil servants due to their political affiliation and
especially noticeable in election districts where opposition dismissal from work is no longer used as a punitive mea-
candidates had garnered more votes or where there was a sure against civil servants that hold opposing political views.
close race in the first round. However, several facts of dismissal for political reasons were
still reported in the pre-election period.
Misuse of administrative resources was one of the factors
that hindered the pre-election campaign. It was mostly local MEDIA ENVIRONMENT
self-governments that used administrative resources in vari-
ous forms in favor of the ruling party. A few days before ap- Despite some challenges, media environment during the
plicable legal restrictions came into effect, many municipali- pre-election period remained pluralistic. Electoral subjects
ties made changes in their budgets to introduce new social were able to present their programs and visions to the
and infrastructural projects to be launched and implemented public in free and equal conditions. Media provided a mostly
during the election period7 balanced coverage of campaign meetings and political
debates.
Vote buying was also evident during the pre-election period.
The ownership dispute around the TV station Rustavi 2 was
7 See: http://www.electionsportal.ge/geo/map?map=14&category=3.0&dist=0&majolqi=0
a key issue in the pre-election media landscape. The court

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inadequate handling of electoral documentation, restriction
of observer rights, campaigning at the polling station and
presence of unauthorized individuals at the polling station
were found in some precincts.

Similarly to the process of opening of polling stations, the


voting process went without any major violations and inci-
dents at most precincts. Instances of inadequate handling of
electoral documentation were found at a number of polling
stations, in addition to isolated instances of violation of ballot
secrecy, inking procedures, voting without proper identifica-
tion documents, ballot papers without necessary signatures
or seals, restriction of observer rights, campaigning and
presence of unauthorized individuals at the polling station.
Observers detected tension outside several polling stations
but it did not have a material impact on the voting process,
proceedings and some statements made by government except in the case of one polling station.
representatives have raised concerns that the case is more
than a private dispute and it aims to influence the editorial ISFED observation detected most important violations and
policy of the broadcaster. irregularities during counting process. Most violations iden-
tified at polling stations were related to improper handling
During the pre-election period four TV companies GDS, of summary protocols. Acts of violence were observed in a
Imedi TV, Maestro Studio Ltd. and the Public Broadcaster number of polling stations. Important violations identified in
jointly commissioned an exit poll from a company called TNS the counting process questioned validity of results on sever-
Opinion, while Rustavi 2 commissioned an exit poll from al polling stations.
GFK. Exit poll results published by the two companies were
contradictory to each other and both greatly differed from Although ISFED observers found violations of electoral
official election results. procedures in a number of polling stations, including im-
portant irregularities, overall these violations did not have a
ELECTION DAYS large-scale impact. Isolated incidents could not have had
any substantial effect on expression of free will of voters and
Based on its monitoring findings, ISFED can confidently therefore, on final results of the proportional elections.
state, that in absolute majority of electoral precincts the
October 8, 2016 parliamentary elections were conducted Based on the analysis of PVT data, ISFED can confidently
in abidance by legal regulations. ISFED finds that opening say that, during the runoff elections, opening of polling sta-
of polling stations and the voting process proceeded in a tions and the process of polling mostly proceeded in a calm
calm and orderly manner, without significant violations. The and orderly manner throughout Georgia.
process of vote count proved to be a challenge as important
violations and incidents were detected at a number of polling Based on reports of ISFED observers, no substantial viola-
stations, including acts of violence, which later served as the tions were found in the process of opening and setting up
basis for invalidating results at several polling stations. of polling stations. Several instances of improper handling
In the first round of the parliamentary elections ISFED of documentation, restriction of observer rights and viola-
observers did not report any significant violations during tion of the procedure for casting of lots were found. During
opening and setting up of polling stations. Isolated cases of the voting process, ISFED observers detected the isolated
7 : goo.gl/Ga4kN1

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incidents involving such significant violations as breach of
secrecy of vote and inking procedures. Marneuli Majoritarian
election district proved to be the most problematic in this
regard.

ISFED monitoring revealed important types of violations


during the process of vote count in several polling stations,
including: mismatch in number of ballots and number of vot-
er signatures; isolated cases of improper filling-in or altering
of summary protocols; a mass violation of ballot secrecy in
one polling station.

Because the above violations were isolated incidents and


none of them had a large-scale effect ISFED believes that
they did not appear to influence final election outcomes.

POST-ELECTION PERIOD

In connection to violations detected during the first round


of the elections and in the runoffs, ISFED observers filed
a total of 462 complaints with precinct and district level
commissions. Complaints were filed over the following types
of violations: inadequate handling of electoral documenta-
tion, improperly filled summary protocols, altered summary
protocols, mismatch of number of ballots and voter signa-
tures, voting without proper documentation, restriction of
observer rights, violation of sealing rules, violation of inking
procedures, etc. ISFED observers reacted on a total of 639
violations. Majority of these violations had been caused by
lack of professionalism and qualification of electoral com-
mission members, especially in cases of related to summary
protocols.

ISFED representatives had opportunity to attend the com-


plaint adjudication process and voice the position of the
organization about the submitted complaints. However,
electoral commissions mostly avoided adequate examina-
tion of electoral documentation and review of voting results,
relying only on explanatory statements of commission mem-
bers when making decisions.

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III. POLITICAL CONTEXT

By virtue of the Constitution of Georgia and the Georgian actions and investigation of these cases were ineffective.
Election Code, parliamentary elections were held under a
mixed electoral system where 73 mandates of the 150-seat In addition to these videos, the pre-election period was also
legislature were allocated from single-mandate constituen- marked with cases of secret recordings of conversations
cies, known as majoritarian election districts and remaining between politicians and media representatives released
77 seats were allocated from party lists in a national propor- on social media in an attempt to discredit the individuals
tional system8. concerned. Majority of these facts were not followed with
effective investigation and the origin of these recordings or
Changing the electoral system was one of the major issues who released them remains unknown to the public.
of political discussions. Despite the consensus reached in
2015 with involvement of NGOs, major opposition parties The official pre-election period ahead of the 2016 Parlia-
and the president on switching from the existing electoral mentary elections lasted four months. Despite the lengthy
system to a proportional one9 , the eighth parliament failed pre-election period, political parties and candidates only
to enact subsequent Constitutional changes. The position of started active campaigning in the second half of July. Party
the ruling coalition supported changing the electoral system lists were announced only right before the deadline for
for the parliamentary elections in 2020, but not in 2016. submission of the lists. Majority of political parties had not
presented their official campaign platforms one month prior
The election period took place on the background of to the Election Day.
increasing polarization and rising political temperature.
This was especially fueled by an incident that took place in POLITICAL PARTIES
Kortskheli village of Zugdidi on May 22, 2016, during the
local by-election in several election districts. In particular, After the President of Georgia called the Parliamentary elec-
following a confrontation between the Georgian Dream (GD) tions, both existing and newly created parties announced
and the UNM activists, a group of GD supporters physically their intent to participate in the elections. Among them was
assaulted UNM leaders, which the police failed to prevent10. political forces created by former members of the United
During the subsequent period, it seemed that the prosecu- National Movement11 , which eventually joined the Coali-
tors office was delaying timely identification and prosecu- tion State for the People founded by Paata Burchuladze12.
tion of perpetrators. Failure of the authorities to effectively Some of the non-parliamentary parties created a political
respond to the incident and subsequent actions of the bloc13. As the deadline for registration of electoral subjects
prosecutors office, including the fact that they demanded drew near, the ruling coalition Georgian Dream dissolved
lighter preventive measures raised suspicions about possible and some of its former members registered as independent
selective approaches from the side of government. electoral subjects for the parliamentary elections14.

Videos released in March 2016 and later in social media Certain irregularities were detected in the practice of regis-
allegedly showing private lives of politicians were met with tration of electoral subjects by the CEC. Later on the basis
strong reaction from the society. The videos were accom- of a statement made by the Public Register it was found that
panied by threats against politicians and journalists, mostly documents used by the CEC to register several parties were
women. Civil society perceived dissemination of the videos inadequate and inappropriate. After studying this matter, IS-
as an attempt to discredit and blackmail the entire political FED found that the CEC had practiced pro forma approach
spectrum. Despite strong public reaction, the states further to registration of several political parties15.

8 Articles 49 and 50 of the Constitution of Georgia;


9 Address of NGOs and political parties to the parliament of Georgia, dated May 30, 2015, is available at: http://www.isfed.ge/main/904/geo/
10 ISFED Condemns the Violence in Zugdidi, ISFED, 22 May 2016, available at: http://www.isfed.ge/main/1052/geo/
11 New Political Center Girchi, Giorgi Vashadzes Civic Platform New Georgia;
12 Prior to the elections, Girchi left the coalition Paata Burchuladze State for the People after Burchuladze alleged that leaders of the party were secretly communicating with the founder of the ruling party, Bidzina
Ivanishvili.
13 Davit Tarkhan-Mouravi, Irma Inashvili Alliance of Georgian Patriots-United Opposition
14 Free Democrats, the Republican Party, the National Forum
15 Detailed information is available at: http://www.isfed.ge/main/1131/geo/ pp.23-29

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Eventually a total of 19 political parties and 6 electoral blocs dates gained victory in 48 majoritarian election districts. An
participated in the October 8, 2016 parliamentary elec- independent candidate Salome Zurabishvili and a candidate
tions16. of Topadze-Industrialists won the remaining two seats.

RUNOFF ELECTIONS

In the first round of majoritarian races of the October 8,


2016 parliamentary elections, winning candidates were iden-
tified only in 23 out of the 73 single-mandate constituencies.
Consequently, for the remaining 50 majoritarian seats the
second round of elections had to be scheduled. The Central
Elections Commission (CEC) set the date of majoritarian
runoffs in 50 election districts for October 30.

Following the first round, top two candidates in 44 majoritar-


ian election districts were from the Georgian Dream Dem-
ocratic Georgia and the United National Movement; in two
districts the highest numbers of votes were received by the
Georgian Dreams majoritarian candidate and independent
majoritarian candidates; in another two districts candidates
of the Free Democrats and the Georgian Dream competed
for the seats; in one majoritarian district the runoff identified
a winner between Topadze-Industrialists and the Georgian
Dream candidates, and in one majoritarian district a candi-
date of the United National Movement and an independent
candidate competed against each other.

In two of the fifty majoritarian constituencies where the


runoffs were held, two majoritarian candidates opposition
leaders Sandra Roelofs (the UNM) and Irakli Alasania (the
Free Democrats) announced withdrawal from the second
round. Their names remained on the election ballots be-
cause, according to the CEC, the election legislation does
not envisage the possibility of cancelling registration of can-
didates that qualify for the second round of elections.

With calling of the runoff elections, opposition party can-


didates started reporting acts of harassment and intimida-
tion of their supporters or coordinators in different election
districts. Most of the candidates that reported harassment of
opposition supporters by the authorities and the ruling party
activists were candidates of the United National Movement
and the Free Democrats.

Based on the results of the runoffs, the ruling party candi-

16 See: http://cesko.ge/res/docs/PartiebiParlamenti201629.09.2016.pdf

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IV. LEGISLATIVE REFORM

One of the important challenges ahead of the 2016 par- man Model, which did not require Constitutional changes.20
liamentary elections was implementation of the electoral Despite pledges made by the parliamentary and non-parlia-
reform. ISFED together with its partner organizations was mentary parties in support of changing the electoral system,
actively urging the authorities to implement necessary legis- the initiative could not secure enough votes from opposition
lative changes, especially for reforming the electoral sys- parties in the parliament.21
tem. Regrettably, the ruling political force did not show any
political will to make any substantial changes in the electoral An important change was made in the electoral system on
system. Despite expectations in the civil society, a working December 23, 2015, when the parliament of Georgia redrew
group to discuss changes in the electoral legislation with boundaries of majoritarian constituencies in light of the
participation of all stakeholders was not set up. Constitutional Courts decision22 and recommendations of
the Venice Commission, where constituencies fall within the
Although a number of changes were carried out concerning margin of 15% deviation from the average size of a constit-
the electoral system and other issues, a substantial reform uency by number of voters. The parliament also increased
that would have significantly improved the election environ- vote threshold required for majoritarian candidates from 30%
ment to ensure a fair playing field, was not implemented. to 50%+1.

ELECTORAL SYSTEM Despite equalizing boundaries for election districts and


increasing the vote threshold required for majoritarian can-
In 2015, a consensus was reached with the involvement didates, which are both positive steps forward, the existing
of NGOs, major opposition parties and the president for electoral system allows for an outcome that is disproportion-
replacing the existing mixed electoral system with a propor- ate and therefore, unfair.23 Specifically, a dominating party is
tional one but the parliament failed to make any subsequent able to secure far more seats through majoritarian elections
changes. than the voters actual support to the party demonstrated in
proportional elections.24 This was once again clearly con-
There were two Constitutional bills submitted to the Geor- firmed by the 2016 parliamentary elections where the ruling
gian Parliament. According to the bill initiated by the ruling party won 76% of seats in the parliament after garnering
party, changing current electoral system and replacing it with 48.68% of votes in the proportional elections.25
a proportional system would be postponed until after the
2016 parliamentary elections18, whereas the proposal of op- OTHER CHANGES IN THE LEGISLATIVE FRAMEWORK
position parties offered to transition to a proportional system
ahead of the 2016 parliamentary elections19. None of the Several changes were made in the legislative framework to
two initiatives secured sufficient number of votes for passing. introduce new regulations for voting in the so-called special
precincts , for amending rules for allocation of free advertis-
At the end of the parliamentary session period, one of the ing airtime for electoral subjects27 , for police presence out-
members of the ruling coalition, the Republican Party aban- side polling stations for security reasons28 , for determining
doned its position and initiated a new draft of amendments criminal liability for battery or other violence inside or outside
to the Election Code for transitioning to the so-called Ger- a polling station29 , etc.

17 Address of NGOs and political parties to the parliament of Georgia about the electoral system reform, dated May 30, 2015, is available at: http://www.isfed.ge/main/904/geo/
18 Draft of Constitutional Law of Georgia, initiated by 81 MPs through the rule of legislative initiative, on Amendments to the Constitution of Georgia, #07-3/475, 3 September 2015;
19 Legislative initiative submitted by at least 200 000 voters, #18314, 8 September 2015;
20 The bill is available at: http://info.parliament.ge/#law-drafting/11999
21 See a joint statement of NGOs: http://www.isfed.ge/main/1060/geo/
22 Decision of the Constitutional Court of Georgia #1/3/547, 28 November 2015, available at: http://www.constcourt.ge/ge/legal-acts/judgments/saqartvelos-moqalaqeebi-ucha-nanuashvili-da-mixeil-sharashid-
ze-saqartvelos-parlamentis-winaagmdeg.page
23 See statements of NGOs: http://www.isfed.ge/main/933/geo/; http://www.isfed.ge/main/934/geo/
24 For instance, in the parliamentary elections in 2008, the UNM garnered 59.18% of votes in proportional elections, while it gained 79.34% of parliamentary seats. Similar disproportionate allocation of seats
occurred in 2014 for instance, the coalition Georgian Dream gained 28% more seats in Tbilisi Sakrebulo than votes;
25 Summary protocol of final outcomes of the October 8, 2016 Parliamentary elections published by the CEC on November 16, 2016, available at: https://goo.gl/7tKfn3
26 Bill #07-3/538, 4 February 2016, initiated by the Free Democrats parliamentary faction; bill #07-2/463, 29 September 2016, initiated by the Government of Georgia;
27 Bill # 07-3/579, 19 May 2016, available at: http://info.parliament.ge/#law-drafting/12031
28 Bill #07-2/499, 8 June 2016, initiated by the government of Georgia and available at: http://info.parliament.ge/#law-drafting/12120
29Bill #07-2/499, 8 June 2016, initiated by the government of Georgia and available at: http://info.parliament.ge/#law-drafting/12119

12
Regarding the governments bill about the so-called special
precincts, ISFED considers that upholding the right of mili-
tary workers to vote for the majoritarian candidates outside
their place of registration is a deficiency. This regulation
entails a threat of vote manipulation. In response, NGOs
registered a draft in the parliament, according to which
military workers would have been able to vote in majoritarian
elections if they were registered in the election district con-
cerned. However, the government ignored this initiative.

Election administration composition reform was never


considered, albeit it is very important for improving indepen-
dence of the election administration and ensuring political
neutrality. The Parliament of Georgia voted down the bill
initiated by the Task Force on Womens Political Participation
to introduce 50% quotas in proportional party lists on par-
liamentary and local self-government elections. It also voted
down a bill that ensured 30% representation of candidates
of different sex on party lists.

13
V. VOTER LISTS

On June 22, 2016, amendments were made to the Election


Code of Georgia to determine the rules for participation in
2016 parliamentary elections of voters who were removed
from registration according to their place of residence, or
whose registration was declared invalid or who were regis-
tered without indication of address.

To participate in the 2016 elections for the parliament of


Georgia, such voters had to appear at the Agency for
Development of State Services before 1 August 2016 and
be registered according to their place of residence. These
voters were exempt from fees for issuance of an ID card and
for taking a photo (except in the case of expedited service).

According to the CEC, 59 242 voters registered without


an indication of address or removed from registration were
added to the voter list (including 23 988 voters registered
without an indication of address and 35 254 voters removed
from registration).30

ISFED welcomes the changes made in the Election Code


to introduce rules for re-registering voters that have been
removed from registration. We believe that this decision will
help improve voter lists and protect active suffrage.

30 See: https://goo.gl/rWSyTE

14
VI. ELECTION ADMINISTRATION

CENTRAL ELECTION COMMISSION about validity of the Centrists electoral registration and ac-
curacy of information submitted to the CEC for registration.
The CEC worked in abidance by the principles of openness The National Agency for Public Registry publicly declared
and transparency. Election stakeholders and other interest- that the Centrists had no authorized representatives. As a
ed parties had unobstructed access to public information, result, the CEC abolished electoral registration of the Cen-
commission meetings and decisions made by the election trists and other parties without an authorized representative
administration. For the 2016 parliamentary elections the registered at the Public Registry.
CEC continued to create an equal election environment for
persons with disabilities. Videos produced by the CEC were The CEC Chair made a decision to abolish electoral reg-
available for voters with hearing impairments. In addition, istration of the electoral bloc Topadze-Industrialists, Our
number of adapted polling stations increased from 883 in Homeland citing failure of the bloc to submit party list before
2015 to 1115 in 2016.31 the deadline. The decision was appealed by a representative
of the electoral bloc, who stated that they had submitted all
Despite the above positive steps, the CEC made several necessary documents including the party list. The court up-
problematic decisions that were criticized by ISFED, in- held the plaintiffs arguments and evidence, overturned the
cluding decisions about registration of electoral subjects, decision of the CEC Chair and ordered the latter to restore
determination of election district boundaries and determina- the blocs registration.32 Notably the CEC did not challenge
tion of sequence number for electoral subjects. In addition, the decision in the appellate court. Therefore, the basis for
at times, the CECs interpretation of individual norms of the invalidation of the electoral registration of the bloc remains
Election Code was narrow and formalistic. This was espe- unclear, so does the reason why the CEC was reluctant to
cially evident in the CEC decision concerning violation of continue the dispute in the appellate court if it had the legal
campaigning rules by the non-profit (non-commercial) legal basis for cancelling the registration.
entity Georgian Dream - Healthy Future.
ASSIGNING SEQUENCE NUMBER TO SOME ELECTORAL
ELECTORAL REGISTRATION OF SOME POLITICAL PARTIES SUBJECTS

The CEC granted electoral registration to about ten political On August 24, the CEC adopted a resolution no.60/2016 to
parties without any authorized representative defined on allow electoral subjects running in the parliamentary elec-
the basis of the extract from the Register of Political Parties tions to retain the sequence number that they were assigned
at the National Agency for Public Registry. Such parties for the previous local self-government elections, while
were not authorized to apply to the CEC for registration and remaining parties, except for the three parties that garnered
documents submitted by them to the CEC for registration most of the votes in the previous parliamentary elections,
should have been considered flawed. Nevertheless, the CEC got their sequence numbers by casting of lots. Due to this
registered the parties disregarding the presumption of irrefut- decision, some political parties received their sequence
ability of records kept by the Public Registry. numbers one week before others, which put other parties
whose sequence number was determined later by casting of
Particularly noteworthy case is the CEC decision about lots at a disadvantage. Some political parties criticized this
registration of the political union (p/u) Centrists. The situation decision. The Republican Party challenged the CEC resolu-
created around electoral registration of the party suggests tion in court but their appeal was rejected and the resolution
that the CEC did not adequately verify documents submit- was upheld.33
ted by the party and may have registered it based on a pro
forma approach.

The legal dispute ISFED v Centrists revealed questions

31 See the information at: http://cesko.ge/geo/static/2173/shshm-amomrchevlebi


32 Documents of the legal dispute are available at: http://sachivrebi.cec.gov.ge/info.php?id=3853
33 For details of the legal dispute, please see: http://sachivrebi.cec.gov.ge/info.php?id=3821

15
DEFINITION OF THE STATUS OF CHARITY ORGANIZATIONS BY
THE CEC

Non-profit (non-commercial) legal entity Georgian Dream


Healthy Future is a charity organization that provided
free medical examinations for nearly 200 teachers during
the pre-election period, organized by a member of Tbilisi
Sakrebulo from the Georgian Dream. This raised suspicions
that the Georgian Dream Healthy Future engaged in cam-
paigning in favor of the Georgian Dream considering that the
name and the logo of the organization were similar to those
of the party. The Election Code prohibits charity organiza-
tions from campaigning.

Despite the flagrant violation of the election legislation, the


CEC found that the Georgian Dream Healthy Future had
not violated the law since the Ministry of Finance of Georgia
had not granted it the status of a charity organization. commission members relied on their individual assessments
for selection of candidates. Preference was given to expe-
Such interpretation of the law creates a risk that similar or- rienced and apolitical candidates. ISFED welcomes that in
ganizations will choose to never register with a tax agency in some cases commission members took into consideration
an attempt to bypass the Election Code, as their goal is not the candidates participation in election schools and other
to get any tax exemptions but to participate in campaigning election-related voluntary experiences.34
bypassing the law. This will promote improper practice and
organizations engaged in charity work will be free to partici- However, in most DECs selection of PEC members began
pate in pre-election campaigning. without the DEC Chair presenting at the meeting the number
of candidates, selection of criteria and other procedures that
DISTRICT AND PRECINCT ELECTION COMMISSIONS are important for transparency.

IRREGULARITIES IN THE PROCESS OF SELECTION OF PEC In various districts, ISFED observers learned from various
MEMBERS sources about existence of pre-determined lists that the
DEC members should have used during selection of PEC
ISFED observers reported that the process of selection of members. According to opposition representatives, these
PEC members by district commissions fell short of stan- lists were dominated by family members and relatives of the
dards of transparency and objectivity. Georgian Dream activists. ISFED observers obtained such
lists of pre-determined lists of PEC members in districts of
In a few districts, selection of PEC members was con- Ozurgeti, Kobuleti, Samtredia and Senaki. Comparison of
ducted in abidance by applicable procedures. Majority of these lists to the PEC members selected by the DECs in

34 Such approach of DECs was found in Borjomi, Kutaisi, Poti, Ambrolauri, Tsalenjikha, Akhalkalaki, Rustavi, Nadzaladevi. Chair of Khulo DEC announced selection criteria as the meeting began.

16
these districts revealed that a vast majority of selected can- Pursuant to the Election Code, the CEC determined bound-
didates were in the pre-existing lists. aries for 30 majoritarian districts, including Batumi Election
district, while boundaries for the remaining three districts in
In addition, process of selection of PEC members in Gori Adjara A/R remained undetermined up until July 14, 2016,
and Akhaltsikhe was not based on open elections among and electoral subjects seeking to participate in elections in
all nominated candidates and there was no open discussion these constituencies were unable to register.
of applications. DEC members arrived at the meeting with
pre-marked lists of candidates for each precinct that they Despite gaps in the Law on Adjara A/R Supreme Council
simply signed during the meeting. During selection of PEC Elections, the Supreme Council did not introduce neces-
members in Gori, DEC members mostly voted in favor of the sary amendments to tackle problems related to drawing of
first six candidates on the list. boundaries. Therefore, on July 14, 2016, the Supreme Elec-
tion Commission of Adjaraestablished that election district
If DECs coordinate their positions about which candidates boundaries for Adjara A/R Supreme Council Elections would
to choose and make lists of desired candidates before the coincide with boundaries of majoritarian districts determined
selection process begins, it is important for transparency to under the Election Code and by the CEC.
disclose where this selection took place and what criteria
they relied on for selection of each candidate. The process
should also be open for monitoring organizations. However,
it is a cause of concern if such lists are prepared without any
prior discussions between DEC members. Such practice
creates suspicions about potential political interests in the
process as the integrity of DECs may have been compro-
mised or DECs may have consulted with third parties in the
selection process.

Composition of electoral commissions has been criticized


before. A number of irregularities were detected in the
competition for selection of new DEC members by the CEC
in early 2016. ISFED monitoring of the process found that
the criteria used by the CEC for evaluation of hundreds of
candidates were. Selection of candidates with past political
affiliation for the professional DEC member positions raised
certain questions at the time.35

ESTABLISHING BOUNDARIES OF CONSTITUENCIES

By virtue of new regulations introduced in the Election Code


of Georgia on December 23, 2015, election district borders
were predominately determined under the Election Code,
while the CEC was put in charge of redrawing boundaries
for election districts in Tbilisi, Rustavi, Kutaisi and Batumi.36
The Election Code did not provide any regulations as to
how to determine election district boundaries for Adjara A/R
Supreme Council Elections.

35 Report of Monitoring the Competition for Selection of DEC Members, ISFED, 1 April 2016: http://www.isfed.ge/main/1034/geo/
36 Articles 110 and 1101 of the organic law of Georgia, the Election Code of Georgia

17
VII. THE INTERAGENCY COMMISSION FOR FREE AND
FAIR ELECTIONS
The Interagency Commission for Free and Fair Elections is
an institution that operates under the Electoral Code to iden-
tify violations of the election law by civil servants and take
further actions in response to these violations.

During the pre-election period, the Interagency Commission


started working in compliance with the terms prescribed by
the law and met on a regular basis. However, often discus-
sions proceeded amid political confrontations and exchange
of accusations and issues considered during these meetings
frequently fell outside the scope of the Commission man-
date.

The Commission issued four recommendations and an in-


terim report during the pre-election period. ISFED welcomes
launching of the campaign Violence Harms Elections under
the initiative of the Commission, with the aim of promoting
non-violent environment for elections. A special video was
produced within the campaign where political party repre-
sentatives talked about importance of violence-free elec-
tions. The Ministry of Justice carried out important initiatives
during the pre-election campaign to allow citizens to receive
their ID cards free of charge and through a simplified proce-
dure.37

In the future, the law should clearly define the mandate of


the Commission, procedure for submitting reports/applica-
tions, format for reviewing issues and applicable procedures.
The law should provide for Interagency Commission mecha-
nisms for responding to and preventing acts of violence and
harassment/intimidation based on ones political affiliation. In
addition, it is vital to establish a system for implementing and
monitoring recommendations issued by the Commission.

Detailed information is available at: https://goo.gl/1R0tGT pp.5-6

18
VIII.THE STATE AUDIT OFFICE

For the 2016 parliamentary elections, activities of the State Paata Burchuladze engaged in social/political activities
Audit Office (SAO) were mostly positive. The SAO was long time before establishing a party; however, because he
objective and impartial in reviewing complaints submitted hadnt publicly declared his electoral goals before May, he
by both the ruling party as well as the opposition during the was not subject to regulations that apply to political parties.
pre-election period. Unlike the 2012 parliamentary elections, This gave him an advantage over other parties.
decisions made in similar cases did not provide different
standards for different parties.

ISFED filed a total of four complaints with the SAO about


possible vote buying. Information about one complaint was
referred to the Office of the Prosecutor of Georgia, one com-
plaint is still pending, one served as the basis for preparing a
protocol of administrative offence with the sanction of 8,000
GEL fine, and the SAO did not find any violation in connec-
tion to the remaining fourth complaint.

During the pre-election monitoring, problems related to


definition of individuals with declared electoral goals and the
methodology for granting such status arose. These prob-
lems became evident after (physical/legal) individuals not
registered as a political party actively started pursuing activi-
ties that are characteristic to political subjects. For instance,

19
IX. PRE-ELECTION PERIOD

MONITORING MISSION AND METHODOLOGY MISUSE OF ADMINISTRATIVE RESOURCES FOR ELECTORAL PUR-
POSES
The Presidential Decree of June 3 was published on June 8,
2016 , setting October 8, 201638 as the date for the parlia- During the pre-election monitoring of the parliamentary elec-
mentary elections. As a result, the official pre-election period tions and the runoffs, ISFED monitored the use of admin-
began on June 8, 2016 and lasted four months. istrative resources by political parties, candidates/electoral
subjects, including the use of material, financial and human
ISFED started monitoring the pre-election period of the resources available to the central and local self-government
parliamentary elections on July 1, 2016; however, ISFEDs authorities for the advancement of electoral/political purpos-
pre-election reports also covered developments and inci- es.
dents that occurred prior to the launch of the monitoring and
may have affected the election environment. ISFED carried Observation showed that local self-government bodies often
out the pre-election monitoring in all election districts of engaged in such misuse of administrative resources. ISFED
Georgia through 68 LTOs. ISFED monitored the pre-elec- identified a total of 28 instances of misuse of administrative
tion period of the second round of the elections through 38 resources during the pre-election period. In most of these
LTOs deployed in all election districts where the runoffs took cases, resources were used in favor of the ruling party.
place.
Different municipalities engaged in different forms of misuse
ISFED LTOs are guided by international standards for ob- of administrative resources, including:
server organizations39 , implying comprehensive, objective
and transparent observation of elections. Pre-election moni- print media funded by the local budget campaigning in
toring of ISFED focused on the following areas: favor of majoritarian MPs from the ruling party;
officials using vehicles owned by the municipal agencies
Monitoring public meetings and political activities of po- during campaign activities;
litical parties/electoral subjects as well as promises that restrictions in availability of buildings owned by the local
they made to voters; self-governments to opposition parties;
Monitoring of election administration, which mostly majoritarian MP candidates attending and campaigning
entails monitoring composition of election administration during events funded by the budget;
and its activities; pre-election campaigning in favor of the ruling political
Detecting and acting on political intimidation/harass- party and its candidates using municipalitys official web-
ment, obstruction of political activities and alleged site and the Facebook page.
vote-buying;
Detecting and studying any misuse of public resources; As the pre-election campaign began, some municipalities
started making changes in their local budgets in order to
During the monitoring ISFED relied on public information direct funds towards social and infrastructural projects.
requested from administrative agencies, as well as reports Although the Election Code prohibits such changes within
received from electoral subjects, media outlets, NGOs and 60 days ahead of elections and municipalities mostly abided
individual citizens. Each fact obtained by ISFED was verified by this requirement, launch of social campaigns and mo-
with eyewitnesses and parties involved in the incident. While bilization of budget funds for social projects created sus-
conducting the monitoring, ISFED also reported the inci- picions that initiation of projects or increase of spending in
dents to the Interagency Commission for Free and Fair Elec- some municipalities had to do with the formal launch of the
tions to ensure that actions in response to these incidents pre-election campaign.
were taken in a timely manner.
The so-called SMS Service introduced by some municipal-

38 The Presidential Decree is available at: http://cesko.ge/res/old/other/33/33940.pdf


39 In the process of monitoring ISFED follows Declaration of Global Principles for Nonpartisan Election Observation and Monitoring by Citizen Organizations, available at http://www.gndem.org/declaration-of-glob-
al-principles; while in evaluation it is guided by and shares the spirit of OSCE Copenhagen Document

20
ities contained signs of misuse of administrative resources.
Local executive bodies sent out mass text messages about The SAO examined the incidents in a timely manner and re-
infrastructural projects that had been completed. While ferred them to court for further actions. However, the courts
the use of the above means as a way to keep population responses to the violations were ineffective, which encour-
informed about local government activities is beneficial and ages vote buying. It is unfortunate that the government does
welcomed, it is peculiar that municipalities started using the not pay adequate attention to such form of political corrup-
text-messaging service during the pre-election period. tion and none of the perpetrators were prosecuted.

VOTE BUYING Particularly noteworthy was the courts ineffective response


to vote buying by the political union Centrists. After ISFED
The pre-election campaigning ahead of the parliamentary learned about the vote buying incident, it filed a complaint in
elections was marked by a noticeable trend of vote buying. court with appropriate jurisdiction, as per the Election Code,
ISFED identified a total of 12 vote-buying incidents during but the court refused to admit the complaint stating that the
the pre-election period of the first and the second rounds of CEC must examine the issue and present a legal decision.
the parliamentary elections. Despite a number of prohibitions The CEC refused to deal with the vote buying issue and de-
provided by the election legislation, political parties, candi- clared that disputes involving vote buying should be consid-
dates and their representatives were using different methods ered only by court.40
to entice voters with money and gifts.
ISFED filed three applications with the SAO and one com- Eventually the court admitted the case and considered it but
plaint with court demanding a probe into the vote buying it delivered a legally unsubstantiated decision. Despite clear
incidents and further actions. signs of vote buying in the case in question, the first instance

40 Detailed information about the case of p/u the Centrists is available here: http://www.isfed.ge/main/1118/geo/ pp. 8-11

21
court delivered an incorrect legal assessment of the facts. Alleged acts of intimidation were detected during selection
When the decision was challenged in the appellate court, of PEC leaders. In PECs where members appointed by
the CEC removed the Centrists from registration citing an oppositions parties were selected for leadership positions
error in the partys registration documents. As a result, the (PEC chair or secretary), the PEC members participating in
Appellate Court abolished the decision of the first instance the voting later resigned; PEC protocol was doctored in one
court, whereas because the deregistration occurred prior to case to replace the name of elected PEC Secretary with the
the court hearing the court canceled the proceedings stating name of another PEC member.
that ISFEDs request to revoke registration of the Centrists
had already been granted. However, ISFED believes that un- Authorities response to acts of alleged harassment of
der para.3, Article 32 of the Administrative Procedure Code, candidates was insufficient and ineffective; in some cases
the court should have considered the part of the complaint investigation was launched and the incidents were examined
that concerned vote buying, even after the party registration by the Interagency Commission but these measures are still
was canceled. pending even after the elections are over.

The court dispute concerning possible vote buying by the INTERFERENCE WITH CAMPAIGNING
Centrists clearly suggests the lack of state policy for com-
bating the most severe form of political corruption - vote ISFED found instances of interference with campaigning
buying. generally by disrupting public meetings of candidates and
vandalizing offices. ISFED identified a total of 19 incidents,
HARASSMENT/INTIMIDATION ON ALLEGED POLITICAL including 11 against the United National Movement (UNM),
GROUNDS 3 against independent majoritarian candidates and two
against the Georgian Dream Democratic Georgia; re-
One of the areas of focus of ISFEDs pre-election monitoring maining incidents aimed to disrupt the campaigns of the
was identification of instances of harassment/intimidation on Alliance of Patriots, the Free Democrats and Paata Burchu-
alleged political grounds, including: ladze-State for the People (one incident against each party).

Harassment/intimidation on alleged political grounds Campaign events were mostly attended by local self-govern-
against employees of state institutions, voters, political ment employees holding opposing political views or activists
party representatives, electoral subject candidates; of other parties, who were trying to interfere with campaign-
Restriction of activities of voters, civil servants, political ing using different forms of interference. Sometimes this led
parties, electoral subjects and other individuals with the to a confrontation. However, such physical confrontations
use of various forms of violence. and counter-rallies were not widespread.

During the pre-election period ISFED identified a total of 36 On September 14, the Interagency Commission adopted a
such incidents, some of which contained signs of a crime. recommendation to political parties and electoral subjects
Instances of harassment and intimidation against party 41
, urging them to take all possible measures to ensure that
activists began two months ahead of the elections and their activists and supporters refrain from attending pre-elec-
became more and more frequent as the Election Day drew tion meetings of rival political parties or their supporters, as
close. Opposition party representatives reported verbal well as from staging a counter-rally against these meetings,
threats, including threats to cancel social assistance and in order to eliminate all risks of verbal or physical confronta-
other forms of intimidation to ISFED observers. ISFED found tion on political grounds. Despite these recommendations,
instances where the law enforcement searched politically acts of physical violence and interference with campaigning
active individuals, interrogated them and pressed charges, targeting political opponents became more frequent as the
which gave rise to suspicions about political bias of the law Election Day approached.
enforcement.

41 Recommendations of the Interagency Commission for Free and Fair Elections available at: http://www.justice.gov.ge/Ministry/Index/487

22
Law enforcement was adequately mobilized at nearly In addition, upon the initiative of the Minister of Justice, 11
all large-scale meetings organized by parties and safety political parties joined a campaign against violence during
measures were followed. However, in some cases, their pre-election period and condemned violence in a special
follow-up on the acts of interference with pre-election cam- video entitled Violence Harms Elections45 . However,
paigning was inadequate and insufficient. instead of condemning and distancing themselves from
the violent acts in their statements in reaction to violations
VIOLENCE AND ASSAULTS perpetrated by their activists, political parties put the blame
on the other side for provoking violence.
During the pre-election period, ISFED detected 16 instanc-
es of violence and assault on alleged political grounds. DISMISSAL FROM WORK ON POLITICAL GROUNDS
Confrontation between party activists often erupted during
campaign events, which led to a physical assault. It is un-
The monitoring of the parliamentary elections found 7 cases
fortunate that electoral subjects were also involved in violent
of dismissals from work on alleged political grounds.46 All
incidents; some engaged in a physical confrontation during
TV debates.42 seven cases were found in local self-government bod-
ies. The individuals concerned alleged that they had been
Although the violent incidents were not widespread, alarm- sacked due to their political affiliation and beliefs. Some were
ing instances of physical confrontation between political op- restored to work, while others filed in court and their cases
ponents and activist were detected at the Election Day drew are pending.
near. As a result of the use of force and cold weapons, activ-
ists of opposition parties as well as the ruling party sustained It should be noted that over the last few years there have
physical injuries.43 In addition, the pre-election process been fewer cases of dismissals of civil servants due to their
was marred by cases of violence in the final days before the political affiliation and dismissal from work is no longer used
elections, including the car explosion of an opposition MP as a punitive measure against civil servants that hold oppos-
and an assault with a firearm on an opposition majoritarian ing political views. However, authorities should respond to
candidate.44 individual cases of dismissals on political grounds in a timely
and effective manner. In addition, during the pre-election

42 See the Fourth Interim Report of ISFED available at: http://www.isfed.ge/main/1147/geo


43 Statement about the incident in Didinedzi Village: http://www.isfed.ge/main/1145/geo/;
44 NGOs React to Yesterdays Explosion: http://www.isfed.ge/main/1149/geo/;
45 The video titled Violence Harms Elections, September 17, 2016, available at: https://www.facebook.com/MinistryofJusticeofGeorgia/videos/1054089911306256/
46 SEE ISFEDs pre-election monitoring reports, available at: http://www.isfed.ge/main/1072/geo/

23
period staff changes in local self-government should be kept
to the minimum, in order for it not to influence pre-election
processes.

PARTICIPATION OF UNAUTHORIZED INDIVIDUALS IN


PRE-ELECTION CAMPAIGNING

During the pre-election campaign ahead of the parliamentary


elections, ISFED found 24 cases of participation of unautho-
rized individuals in the pre-election campaigning. ISFED filed
7 complaints with the election administration seeking ade-
quate measures in response to these violations. The moni-
toring found that representatives of religious organizations,
participated in campaigning in favor of electoral subjects,
so did charity organizations, civil servants during working
hours, members of the election administration (district and
precinct level commissions) and citizens of foreign countries.
missions in pre-election campaigning of electoral subjects
A particular issue of concern was campaigning by a charity was evident. Campaigning in favor of electoral subjects was
organization Georgian Dream-Healthy Future in favor of detected in activities of DEC members appointed by parties,
the ruling party. Although activities of the organization were while in precinct level commissions both DEC and party
connected to the campaign of the GD, the CEC did not find appointed members engaged in campaigning.47
violation of campaign rules and decided that the organiza-
tion did not break any laws because it was not registered as ISFED also found cases of local self-government employees
a charity organization with a tax agency. Considering that campaigning on Facebook in favor of the ruling party and
the organization pursued charity activities, its clearly illegal their candidates during working hours.
actions were left without a legal response due to a pro forma
interpretation of the law by the election administration. HATE SPEECH

In violation of the campaign rules, former president of Some electoral subjects engaged in hate speech during
Georgia, who at the time served as the Governor of Odes- campaigning, especially Davit Tarkhan Mouravi, Irma Inashvili
sa Oblast, actively participated in pre-election campaign Alliance of Patriots of Georgia who made clearly xenopho-
in favor of the UNM. Saakashvili is a citizen of Ukraine and bic remarks. Majoritarian candidates and active members
he is no longer holding the Georgian citizenship. He was of the party made discriminatory statements during the
using technical means to address participants of the UNM pre-election campaign against ethnic minorities and vulnera-
pre-election meetings and urge them for support of the ble groups. The party produced and released a xenophobic
party and its majoritarian candidates. Although it was clearly campaign video; in it they used anti-Turkish statements and
against the requirements of the Election Code, the election urged voters to gather ahead of the elections to express
administration did not establish any violation. It explained their anti-Turkish sentiments.
that Mikheil Saakashvili did not break the law on the territory
of Georgia and therefore, under the Code of Administrative Members of the civil society platform No to Phobia, including
Offences of Georgia, protocol of administrative offence was ISFED filed a statement with the CEC requesting launch of
not prepared against him. an administrative probe into the Alliance of Patriots cam-
paign video. The CEC chair prepared a protocol of adminis-
Participation of members of district and precinct level com- trative offence and sent it to Tbilisi City Court for their review.

47 Similar instances were found in election districts of Baghdati, Gurjaani, Chokhatauri and Batumi

24
Based on the protocol, the court ordered the Alliance of
Patriots to pay a fine of GEL 2000.

Discriminatory statements were also made by a leader of the


Labor Party, Shalva Natelashvili and one of the leaders of
Paata Burchuladze State for the People, Giorgi Vashadze.

Use of hate speech by electoral subjects during the


pre-election period is especially alarming as it jeopardizes
peaceful, equal and stable pre-election environment.

25
X. MEDIA ENVIRONMENT

Despite some challenges, media environment during the Mr. Ivanishvilis meetings with regional media outlets. During
pre-election period remained pluralistic. Electoral subjects these meetings Ivanishvili was campaigning in favor of the
were able to present their programs and visions to the Georgian Dream. No other electoral subjects had such ac-
public in free and equal conditions. Media provided a mostly cess to GDS TV airtime.
balanced coverage of campaign meetings and political
debates. New programs and special formats on different TV During the pre-election period four TV companies GDS,
channels provided electoral subjects with an opportunity for Imedi TV, Maestro Studio Ltd. and the Public Broadcaster
effective communication with voters. jointly commissioned an exit poll from a company called TNS
Opinion, while Rustavi 2 commissioned an exit poll from
However, certain disturbing developments in the media GFK. Exit poll results published by the two companies were
landscape began to appear one year before the pre-election contradictory to each other and both greatly differed from
period. In particular, in the second half of 2015, two main official election results.
talk-shows were canceled on Imedi TV and employment
contracts with the program creators and journalists were ISFED did not find any instances of obstruction of journalistic
terminated.48 In addition, the public broadcasters Channel reporting or harassment of journalists in the election period,
1 dismissed a main talk-show host after several notices with the exception of the case of Gela Mtvlivishvili, head of
of written warning. These events raised suspicions about Kakheti Information Center. He was assaulted by Gamge-
efforts to influence editorial policy of the said broadcasters. beli of Tsnori Administrative Entity, Sighnaghi Municipality.
Gamgebeli later issued a public apology and resigned.
As the pre-election period began, the Georgian National
Communications Commission (GNCC) started monitoring
29 channels. The GNCC monitored pre-election advertising,
debates, news, social/political programs and coverage of
pre-election campaigns on all general broadcasters and the
public broadcaster. Throughout the monitoring, the GNCC
issued important and useful recommendations about a few
broadcasters; it also prepared a protocol of administrative
violation against several TV companies for violating the rules
of public opinion research.49

The ownership dispute around the TV station Rustavi 250


was a key issue in the pre-election media environment. The
case is currently under consideration of the Supreme Court.
The court proceedings and especially, decisions adopted
by the first instance court, as well as statements made by
government representatives about the real owners of
Rustavi 2, have raised concerns that the case is more than
a private dispute and aims to influence the editorial policy of
the broadcaster.

GDS TV, owned by the former PM and the founder of the


Georgian Dream party Bidzina Ivanishvili, flagrantly violated
the law during the pre-election period by providing a two-
hour long airtime two times a week and free of charge to

48 See the information at http://rustavi2.com/ka/news/25740


49 https://goo.gl/kkvezI
50 See. http://www.transparency.ge/en/node/5654

26
XI. MONITORING OF PUBLIC MEETINGS HELD BY
PARTIES/ELECTORAL SUBJECTS DURING THE
PRE-ELECTION PERIOD

During the pre-election period ISFED monitored public meet- 250; creating a fund for starting a family; implementing pro-
ings held by political parties/electoral subjects and recorded grams for support of small businesses and farmers; creating
their pre-election promises. ISFED LTOs attended a total of sector corporation; funding 8000 projects annually based on
1280 public meetings51 held by political parties and electoral ideas of citizens and observing the principle of neutrality in
subjects in different territorial units of Georgia. Majoritarian Georgias foreign policy.
candidates nominated by initiative groups also held cam-
paign meetings. During the pre-election period ahead of the Main promises made by Irakli Alasania Free Democrats
first round of the elections, from July 1 through September concerned increase of pension and minimum wage, intro-
30, 2016, LTOs monitored 1248 meetings. From October ducing improved drug policy, and directing Georgias foreign
13 to October 29, in majoritarian districts where the runoffs policy towards Europe and NATO. During their meetings
were held coordinators attended 32 meetings. with voters Paata Burchuladze-State for the People focused
on deepening trade relations with Russia and the EU, and
During their meetings with voters, electoral subjects made tackling social and economic problems in the country.
promises in virtually all areas. Below we summarize cam- Usupashvili-Republicans highlighted integration with Europe;
paign promises made by parties that gained parliamentary promises of Shalva Natelashvili the Georgian Labor Party
seats and by main electoral subjects that participated in the concerned reducing minimum retirement age and prohibiting
elections. A detailed list of promises is available in ISFEDs online loans, while Nino Burjanadze-Democratic Movement
interim reports.52 promised to declare a non-bloc status for Georgia and im-
proving relations with Russia.
Main promises made by the Georgian Dream Democratic
Georgia candidates concerned implementation of infrastruc-
tural projects and tackling of public transportation problem.
The Georgian Dream candidates also promised free regis-
tration of lands, implementation of the employment program PUBLIC MEETINGS HELD BY POLITICAL PARTIES/ELECTORAL SUBJECTS
for pensioners Life Goes On, increasing healthcare bud- IN THE PRE-ELECTION PERIOD
get, increasing average teacher salary up to GEL 800 and
creating vocational training centers, developing tourism and Georgian Dream Democratic Georgia 544
creating jobs. United National Movement 307
Irakli Alasania Free Democrats 130
Main promises made during the UNM campaign meetings Paata Burchuladze State for the People 97
included: launching of employment program; implementing a Davit Tarkhan-Mouravi, Irma Inashvili Alliance of Patriots of
number of financial measures, including reducing profit tax, Georgia, United Opposition 71
abolishing financial police and declaring financial amnesty. Usupashvili - Republicans 32
Promises also concerned the field of education, 50 GEL Shalva Natelashvili- Labor Movement of Georgia
increase of pension, improvements in the field of healthcare 29
Nino burjanadze - Democratic movement 16
and judicial reform.
Other political parties:
National Forum
Davit Tarkhan Mouravi, Irma Inashvili Alliance of Patriots of 16
Industrialists, Our Homeland
Georgia made the following campaign promises: decreasing 14
minimum retirement age and increasing pension up to GEL 24
ISFED observers attended 1280 campaign meetings in total
51 ISFED records meetings that were personally attended by its observers.
52 See ISFEDs pre-election monitoring reports at: http://www.isfed.ge/main/1072/geo/

27
XII. ELECTION DAY

FIRST ROUND OF THE ELECTIONS 50 trainings for nearly 1000 short-term observers
4 trainings for 73 DEC observers;
MONITORING MISSION 4 trainings for 70 mobile groups;
2 trainings for 15 lawyers;
The ISFED observation mission for the October 8, 2016 par- training for 15 operators.
liamentary elections consisted of nearly 950 accredited and
trained observers, deployed in precinct, district and central MONITORING METHODOLOGY
electoral commissions. ISFED STOs monitored the process
of voting and tabulation of votes throughout the country ISFED carried out the Election Day observation using the
using the PVT methodology. ISFED deployed 600 STOs to Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT) methodology. A few days
randomly selected national representative sample of polling before the election, ISFED conducted the full Election Day
stations throughout Georgia, 195 STOs to potentially prob- simulation to test the internal system and software as well
lematic precincts and to precincts particularly worthwhile as the quality and completeness of the reports submitted
for observation , 10 STOs were assigned to polling stations by observers through text messages. The simulation was
adapted to the needs of persons with disabilities in Tbilisi. In successful as the organization received complete reports
from 98% of observers.

On the Election Day ISFED operated the SMS center and


the incidents center in its office. Reports received in the
SMS Center from observers in the form of text messages
were compiled in a special database and verified as needed
by operators. Verified information was then processed and
analyzed by a team of experts.

All violations detected at the election precincts or districts


on the Election Day were reported to the incidents center
divided by regions and staffed by 15 lawyers. After con-
sulting with lawyers observers took corresponding further
actions for each individual violation detected. After they were
verified and processed, the lawyers entered each report in
the database, which included not only the information about
violations reported but also complaints filed with PECs and
addition to the STOs, the Election Day monitoring mission DECs.
also included 70 mobile teams, 73 DEC observers, 15 law-
yers and 15 operators. Three NGOs jointly operated the Elections Portal (www.
electionsportal.ge) on the Election Day, mapping violations
During the initial stage of preparations for the Election Day reported by individual citizens and NGO observers.
ISFED designed the monitoring methodology, system of
reporting and communication, databases, monitoring forms, After processing the data through the incidents center and
instructions, guidelines and other election materials. At a the SMS center, ISFED compiled a total of 5 statements
later stage of preparations, ISFED conducted the following about the polling process, trends identified, violations de-
trainings: tected and election results. The statements were published

28
on the official website of ISFED, released in social media opening and setting up of polling stations. Isolated cases of
and announced at press-conferences in the Election Media inadequate handling of electoral documentation, restriction
Center. of observer rights, campaigning at the polling station and
presence of unauthorized individuals at the polling station
ISFED held the following 5 press-conferences to release its were found in some precincts.
findings about the conduct of the elections:
1. October 8, 2016 at 11:00 opening/setting up of polling Similarly to the process of opening of polling stations, the
stations; voting process went without any major violations and inci-
2. October 8, 2016 at 15:00 voting process and turnout as dents at most precincts. Instances of inadequate handling of
of 12:00; electoral documentation were found at a number of polling
3. October 8, 2016 at 19:00 voting process and turnout as stations, in addition to isolated instances of violation of ballot
of 17:00; secrecy, inking procedures, voting without proper identifica-
4. October 8, 2016 at 22:30 voting process/closing of tion documents, ballot papers without necessary signatures
polling stations; or seals, restriction of observer rights, campaigning and
5. October 9, 2016 at 10:00 tabulation of votes/PVT presence of unauthorized individuals at the polling station.
results. Observers detected tension outside several polling stations
but it did not have a material impact on the voting process,
except in the case of one polling station.

ISFED observation detected most important violations and


irregularities during counting process. Most violations iden-
tified at polling stations were related to improper handling
of summary protocols. Acts of violence were observed in a
number of polling stations. Important violations identified in
the counting process questioned validity of results on sever-
al polling stations.

Although ISFED observers found violations of electoral


procedures in a number of polling stations, including im-
portant irregularities, overall these violations did not have a
large-scale impact. Isolated incidents could not have had
any substantial effect on expression of free will of voters and
KEY FINDINGS therefore, on final results of the proportional elections.

Based on its observation findings, ISFED can confidently PVT RESULTS


state, that in absolute majority of electoral precincts the
October 8, 2016 parliamentary elections were conducted Opening and Setting Up of Polling Stations
in abidance by legal regulations. ISFED finds that opening
of polling stations and the voting process proceeded in a ISFED received reports about opening of polling stations
calm and orderly manner without significant violations. The from 100% of its PVT observers. All ISFED observers (100%)
process of vote count proved to be a challenge as important were free to observe the process of opening of polling sta-
violations and incidents were detected at a number of polling tions. This matched the same data from 2014 elections
stations, including acts of violence, which later served as the .
basis for invalidating results at several polling stations. 4.2% of polling stations were not ready to receive voters
by 08:00am, compared to 8.8% in 2012 parliamentary and
In the first round of the parliamentary elections ISFED 1.3% in 2014 local elections. The voting started slightly late
observers did not report any significant violations during at these stations but progressed without complications.

29
Voting Process
In 98% of polling stations, ballot papers were properly
In 98% of polling stations throughout Georgia, voters cast validated with a signature and a seal, which is slightly worse
their ballots using appropriate documentation, therefore in than the figure on the 2014 elections when ballots were
2% of polling stations some voters were not requested to properly validated in 99.7% of polling stations; in 2012 par-
present identification documents. This figure is almost iden- liamentary elections ballots were properly validated in 97% of
tical to the 2014 local self-government elections (97,7%) and polling stations.
the 2012 parliamentary elections (97%).

In 98.7% of polling stations voters were always inked, a


In 97% of polling stations inking was checked in accordance slight improvement from the 2014 elections when voters
with applicable legal requirements, which is statistically were inked in 96% of polling stations, as well as from 2012
almost identical to the 2014 local self-government elec- elections when voters were always inked in 93% of polling
tions when inking was always checked in 97.3% of polling stations.
stations. Similarly, during the 2012 parliamentary elections
inking was properly checked in 97% of polling stations. In 95% of polling stations, ballot secrecy was always en-

30
sured. This figure is similar to that of the 2014 elections and
slightly lower than the one from the 2012 elections. In partic-
ular, ballot secrecy was ensured in 96.3% of polling stations
in 2014 and in 98% of polling stations in 2012.

Cases of harassment and intimidation were found in only


1% of polling stations. There is no statistically significant
difference between with the figure from the 2014 elections
when such incidents were reported 1.3% of polling stations.
Whereas, there is an improvement from the 2012 parliamen-
tary elections, when this figure was 4%.

Counting Process

In 97.9% of polling stations, the counting process went Voter Turnout


without any violations, which is close to the figures from
the 2012 parliamentary elections (98%) and the 2014 local Voter turnout throughout the country was 52.9%, with a
self-government elections (96.6%). margin of error of +/- 0.9%. This is lower than the 2012 par-
liamentary elections voter turnout of 60.9%.
During the vote count, in 99.9% of polling stations pres-
ISFED found that by 12:00 voter turnout was 19.7%, with +/-
ence of unauthorized individuals was not detected, which
0.3% margin of error. This is a decline from the 2012 parlia-
is statistically indifferent from the 2012 parliamentary elec- mentary elections when voter turnout by 12:00 was 25.5%,
tions (98.8%) and the 2014 local self-government elections and an increase from the 2014 elections when voter turnout
(99.7%). by 12:00 was 16.6%.

In 99.7% of polling stations, voting materials were sealed for ISFED found that by 17:00 voter turnout was 41.8%, with
sending to DECs in compliance with applicable legal pro- +/-0.6% margin of error. This is a significant decline from the
cedures, which is also statistically not significantly different 2012 parliamentary elections when voter turnout by 17:00
from the 2012 parliamentary elections (99.5%) and the 2014 was 52%, and a higher figure than in the 2014 elections
local self-government elections (99.0%). when voter turnout by 17:00 was 34.4%.

At 2.9% of polling stations, no political party representatives Analysis of PVT data also allows ISFED to determine the av-
were present. Representatives of the Georgian Dream-Dem- erage time it took a polling station to process a voter based
ocratic Georgia were present at 89.1% of polling stations. In on the voter turnout data. According to the information
received, from the opening of polling stations until 12:00,
88.7% of these polling stations, electoral subjects did not file
70.7% of PECs processed an average of one voter per
any complaints. UNM representatives were present in 87.6%
minute, while 29.3% PECs processed 1 to 2 voters a minute.
of polling stations. In 87.9% of these polling stations, elec- During the period from 12:00 to 17:00, 77.8% of PECs pro-
toral subjects did not file any complaints. Representatives cessed an average of less than one voter per minute, while
of Davit Tarkhan-Mouravi, Irma Inashvili Alliance of Patriots 22.2% of PECs processed 1-2 voters a minute. During the
of Georgia were present in 61.3% of polling stations; repre- period between 17:00 and 20:00, 97.3% of PECs processed
sentatives of Paata Burchuladze State for the People were one voter per minute, and 1.3% of PECs processed 1-2 vot-
present in 56.6% of polling stations, and representatives er a minute, while the remaining 1.3% was able to process 2
of other political parties were present in 86.2% of polling voters a minute.
stations.

31
Final Election Results According to the PVT PVT Results of RERUN ELECTIONS
Proportional Elections
ISFED monitored the rerun elections on October 22, 2016,
Given the data received by ISFED about the course of the in both Zugdidi and Marneuli DECs and all four electoral
Election Day, ISFED is confident in the PVT results. ISFED precincts.
received full reports from 99.7% of observers at PVT pre-
cincts. On October 19, 2016, under the decision of the CEC, rerun
elections for the October 8, 2016 elections were sched-
According to the PVT projections, the official results for uled for October 22. The rerun elections took place in four
Georgian Dream fell between 48.2% and 50.0%. The official electoral precincts of two election districts. Majoritarian
results for the United National Movement fell between 25.9% parliamentary elections were held in majoritarian precinct
and 27.7%. According to the PVT, the official result for the 36.22.48 of majoritarian election district 36 (Marneuli),
Davit Tarkhan-Mouravi, Irma Inashvili Alliance of Patriots while in electoral precincts 66.67.38, 66.67.79 and
of Georgia, United Opposition should have been between 66.67.108 of majoritarian election district 66 (Zugdidi)
4.6% and 5.2%. Therefore, ISFED could not definitively say voters cast their ballots to elect majoritarian MP as well as
whether or not the party cleared the 5% threshold. municipal Gamgebeli (rerun of the October 8, 2016 munic-
ipal by-elections). The CEC had invalidated the results on
The PVT results for those parties receiving more than 1% are these electoral precincts due to significant incidents that
listed in the table below. The PVT projections are calculated occurred. As a result, rerun elections were scheduled.
at a 95% confidence level.
ISFED observers reported that the rerun voting took place in
Election Subjects PVT Point Margin of Minimum Maximum a peaceful environment in all polling stations and no signifi-
Estimate Error cant violations occurred.
Georgian Dream 49.1% 0.9% 48.2% 50.0%
Democratic
Georgia
Certain irregularities were observed in the electoral precinct
United National 26.8% 0.9% 25.9% 27.7%
#48 of Marneuli majoritarian election district #36, which
Movement opened late. Notably, due to the lack of space at the polling
Davit 4.9% 0.3% 4.6% 5.2% station and a high level of interest of political party repre-
Tarkhan-Mouravi, sentatives, media and observers, as well as a high voter
Irma Inashvili
Alliance of Patriots turnout, certain problems were observed in the process of
of Georgia, United regulation of the flow of voters. Also, the mobile ballot box
Opposition list was filled-in improperly but the issue got resolved after it
Irakli Alasania 4.6% 0.3% 4.3% 4.9% was pointed out. Political party leaders and supporters were
Free Democrats
present outside polling stations both in Marneuli and Zugdidi
Paata Burchuladze 3.5% 0.3% 3.2% 3.8%
State for the but it did not lead to any incidents.
People
Nino Burjanadze 3.4% 0.2% 3.2% 3.6% ELECTION RUNOFFS
Democratic
Movement
Shalva Natelashvili 3.1% 0.2% 2.9% 3.3% MONITORING MISSION
Labor Movement
of Georgia
ISFED monitored the runoff elections on October 30, 2016
Usupashvili - Re- 1.5% 0.1% 1.4% 1.6%
publicans
in 50 election districts of Georgia. ISFED monitoring mission
for the runoffs consisted of over 600 short-term observers,
42 mobile teams and observers assigned to each DECs.
Similar to the first round of the parliamentary elections,
ISFED relied on PVT for monitoring the runoffs. ISFED
assigned 452 short-term observers to electoral precincts

32
randomly selected through a nationally representative sam- KEY FINDINGS
ple. In addition, ISFED observers were present in all electoral
precincts of the following election districts: Marneuli no.36, Based on the analysis of PVT results, ISFED can confident-
Akhaltsikhe-Adigeni no.44, Kutaisi no.49 and Zugdidi no.66. ly say that, during the runoff elections, opening of polling
For the runoffs 10 operators and 11 lawyers worked at the stations and the voting process mostly proceeded in a calm
incidents and SMS centers in ISFED central office. and orderly manner throughout the country.

ISFED held the following 5 press-conferences to release its Based on reports of ISFED observers, no substantial viola-
findings about the conduct of the runoff elections: tions were found in the process of opening and setting up
1. October 30, 2016, at 11:00 opening/setting up of poll- of polling stations. Several instances of improper handling
ing stations; of documentation, restriction of observer rights and viola-
2. October 30, 2016, at 15:00 voting process and turnout tion of the procedure for casting of lots were found. During
as of 12:00; the voting process, ISFED observers detected the isolated
3. October 30, 2016, at 19:00 voting process and turnout incidents involving such significant violations as breach of
as of 17:00; secrecy of vote and inking procedures. Marneuli Majoritarian
4. October 30, 2016, at 22:30 voting process/closing of election district proved to be the most problematic in this
polling stations; regard.
5. October 31, 2016, at 10:00 counting of votes/PVT
results. ISFED monitoring revealed important types of violations
during the process of vote count in several polling stations,

33
including: mismatch in number of ballots and number of vot- of the parliamentary elections when 98% of voters cast their
er signatures; isolated cases of improper filling-in or altering vote using appropriate documentation.
of summary protocols; a mass violation of ballot secrecy in
one polling station. In 99.1% of polling stations inking was checked in accor-
dance with applicable legal requirements, a slight improve-
Because the above violations were isolated incidents and ment from the first round of the elections when inking was
none of them had a large-scale effect ISFED believes that always checked at 97% of polling stations.
they did not appear to influence final election results.
In nearly all polling stations (99.9%) the ballot papers were
PVT RESULTS properly validated with a signature and a seal, which is not
significantly different to the first round when ballots were
Opening and Setting Up of Polling Stations properly validated in 98% of polling stations.

ISFED received reports from 100% of PVT observers about In 99.3% of polling stations voters were always inked, which
opening of polling stations. Similar to the first round of the is statistically identical to the reslult of the first round of
parliamentary elections, all ISFED observers (100%) were elections when inking was always made in 98.7% of polling
free to observe the opening of polling stations. stations.

Only 0.3% of polling stations were not ready to receive the In 97.6% of polling stations, secrecy of vote was always en-
first voter by 08:00am, while during the first round of the sured, a slight improvement from the first round when vote
parliamentary elections 4.2% of polling stations opened late. secrecy was ensured in 95% of polling stations.

0.3% of polling stations failed to follow the rules for casting Cases of harassment and intimidation on voters were not
of lots. No significant violations were detected at 99.5% of reported at any polling station, which is a slight improvement
polling stations. from the first round of the elections when acts of intimidation
and harassment were found in 1% of polling stations.
Voting Process
Significant violations during the voting process were identi-
In 99.1% of polling stations throughout Georgia, voters cast fied in 0.4% of polling stations.
their ballots using proper voter identification documents.
This figure is statistically identical to data of the first round

34
Counting Process on the first round of the parliamentary elections (41.8% +/-
0.6%).
In 99.8% of polling stations, counting process went without
any violations. This result is statistically similar to that of the Analysis of PVT data also allows ISFED to determine the
first round of the elections (97.9%). average time it took a polling station to process a voter
based on the voter turnout data. According to the infor-
In 100% of polling stations, presence of unauthorized indi- mation received, from the opening of polling stations until
viduals was not reported during the counting process. This 12:00, 96% of PECs processed an average of one voter per
figure is statistically not different from the first round of the minute, while 4% PECs processed 1 to 2 voters a minute.
elections (99.9%). During the period from 12:00 to 17:00, 89.6% of PECs
processed an average of one voter per minute, while 10.4%
In 0.7% of polling stations, observers present during the of PECs processed 1-2 voters a minute. Between 17:00 and
counting process did not have a possibility to view each 20:00, 99.8% of PECs processed one voter per minute and
ballot paper and information indicated on it. the remaining 0.2% processed 1-2 voter a minute.
Final Results of the Election Day
Representatives of the Georgian Dream were present in
89.2% of polling stations, while representatives of the UNM Results of the Majoritarian Elections
were present in 79.9% of the polling stations. During the first ISFED received complete reports from 100% of its observ-
round the Georgian Dream representatives were present ers, stationed in all electoral precincts of the four majoritarian
in 89.1% of polling stations, the UNM representatives in districts: Marneuli #36, Akhaltsikh-Adigeni #44, Kutaisi #49
87.6%. and Zugdidi #66.

Voter Turnout Marneuli Majoritarian District #36


#41 Tamaz Navernian Georgian Dream Democratic
According to ISFED, voter turnout throughout the country Georgia - 72.27%
was 37.6% (with +/- 0.9 % margin of error), a significant #5 Akmamed Imamkuliev United National Movement
decline from the first round on October 8, when the voter - 27.73%
turnout was 52.9% (with +/- 0.9 % margin of error).
Akhaltsikhe-Adigeni Majoritarian District #44
According to ISFED voter turnout by 12:00 was 12.7% with #41 Giorgi Kopadze - Georgian Dream Democratic
+/-0.4% margin of error, which is a decline from the 12:00 Georgia - 69.83%
turnout on the first round of the parliamentary elections #5 Vazha Chitashvili - United National Movement -
(19.7% +/- 0.3%). Voter turnout by 17:00 was 30.9% with +/- 30.17%
0.8% margin of error, which is lower than the 17:00 turnout
Kutaisi Majoritarian District #49
#41 Koba Narchemashvili - Georgian Dream Demo-
cratic Georgia - 67.33%
#5 Giorgi Tsereteli - United National Movement - 32.67%

Zugdidi Majoritarian District #66


#41 Edisher Toloraia - Georgian Dream Democratic
Georgia - 71.09%
#5 Sandra Elisabed Roelofs - United National Move-
ment - 28.91 %

35
XIII.COMPLAINTS FILED ON AND FOLLOWING THE
ELECTION DAY
Based on the strategy designed by ISFED, upon detection
of a violation observer pointed it out first and requested that
commission members take adequate further actions. If the
PEC corrected the violation, observer recorded a warning in
the PEC logbook. If the PEC failed to take adequate further
actions in response to the violation concerned, observer filed
a complaint.

Complaints and any other types of actions taken in response


to violations had the following important objectives: 1. record
a violation and ensure that it is corrected in a timely manner;
2. identify incompetent members of electoral commissions,
in order to replace them by qualified individuals in the future
and to ensure that training for PEC members covers all
issues that proved to be most problematic; 3. develop rec-
ommendations for improving the legal framework.

FIRST ROUND OF THE ELECTIONS: VIOLATIONS AND COM-


PLAINTS ON AND FOLLOWING THE ELECTION DAY

During the October 8, 2016 parliamentary elections, ISFED


detected a total of 53457 violations on and following the
polling day. Out of these, in 55 violations ISFED recorded a
warning in the PEC logbook, meaning that precinct commis-
sions took adequate further actions and there was no need
to file a complaint, which deserves recognition.

In connection to 109 violations, ISFED filed 102 complaints


with PECs, and in connection to 462 violations, ISFED filed
244 complaints with DECs. Two complaints were filed in
Batumi City Court and one in Kutaisi Appellate Court.

COMPLAINTS FILED WITH PECS

Out of 102 complaints filed with PECs, adequate further ac-


tions were taken in response to 17; therefore, ISFED did not
file any additional complaint in the next higher level commis-
sions. In remaining cases, ISFED filed complaints with DECs
seeking adequate response and resolution of violations.

Most of the complaints filed with PECs (33) concerned


improper handling of electoral documentation, 14 concerned
improper processing of control sheets, 8 - obstruction of
observer rights and 6 voting without inking, etc.

57 Number of complaints does not match the number of violations because some complaints were filed over more than one violation

36
Statistics of violations over which ISFED filed complaints with DECs:

I mpr op e r h a n d l i n g o f d o c u m e n t a t i o n 33
Ot her v i o l a t i o n s 21
I mpr op e r p r o c e s s i n g o f c o n t r o l s h e e t 14
Obs t r uc t i o n o f o b s e r v e r s r i g h t s 8
Vot i ng w i t h o u t i n k i n g 6
Vi ol at i o n s r e l a t e d t o s e a l i n g o f m a t e r i a l s 3
Numbe r o f b a l l o t s e x c e e d i n g n u m b e r o f s i g n a t u r e s 3
Vi ol at i o n s o f c a s t i n g o f l o t s 3
Vot i ng w i t h o u t p r o p e r d o c u m e n t a t i o n 3
Fai l ur e t o v a l i d a t e a b a l l o t 3
Vi ol at i o n o f v o t e s e c r e c y 3
Campa i g n i n g 3
I mpr op e r p r o c e s s i n g o f s u m m a r y p r o t o c o l 2
I r r egul a r i t i e s r e l a t e d t o t h e v o t e r l i s t 1
Cont r ol s h e e t w a s n o t i n s e r t e d i n t h e b o x 1
Pol l i ng s t a t i o n w a s n o t s e t u p p r o p e r l y 1
Pol l i ng s t a r t e d l a t e 1
Pr es en c e o f u n a u t h o r i z e d i n d i v i d u a l s a t t h e
pol l i ng s t a t i o n s 1
Fai l ur e t o c a s t l o t s 1

Complaints filed with DECs

ISFED filed a total of 244 complaints with DECs: 91 complaints were satisfied, 42 were partially upheld, 91 were rejected
and 20 were dismissed without consideration.

20
Granted
91 Granted in part
91 Rejected
Dismissed without consideration
42

37
Complaints filed with DECs concerned the following types of Number of ballots exceeding signatures on the voter list
violations: 28 complaints over 41 complaints were filed with DECs of
Isani, Mtstsminda, Gardabani, Samgori, Krtsanisi, Sagarejo,
Polling station break-in - 1 complaint filed with Zugdidi DEC Gldani, Nadzaladevi, Dmanisi, Batumi, Khulo, Terjola, Ozur-
geti, Gori, Kaspi, Kutaisi, Gurjaani and Vani
Threats against an observer - 1 complaint filed with Lanch-
khuti DEC Altering summary protocols 26 complaints over 71 viola-
tions were filed with DECs of Samgori, Nadzaladevi, Kareli,
Failure to start voting on time 1 complaint was filed with Borjomi, Tskaltubo, Khashuri, Akhalkalaki, Lagodekhi, Batu-
Batumi DEC mi, Khelvachauri, Khulo, Kobuleti, Gori, Lanchkhuti, Sagare-
jo, Mtatsminda and Krtsanisi.
Failure to conduct casting of lots 1 complaint was filed
with Marneuli DEC Failure to provide a copy of a summary protocol 1
complaint was filed with Ozurgeti DEC.
Violation of rules of casting of lots 4 complaints were filed
with Marneuli, Khulo, Batumi and Ozurgeti DECs Improper filling-in of the summary protocols 85
complaints over 195 violations were filed with DECs of
Campaigning 2 complaints were filed with DECs of Chu- Gldani, Kareli, Ozurgeti, Baghdati, Dmanisi, Lanchkhuti,
ghureti and Sagarejo Gardabani, Rustavi, Kaspi, Batumi, Vani, Khelvachauri, Kob-
uleti, Khulo, Gori, Tskaltubo, Kutaisi, Tetritskaro, Akhaltsikhe,
Violation of secrecy of vote 2 complaints were filed with Khashuri, Didube, Sagarejo, Marneuli, Telavi, Samgori,
DECs of Tskaltubo and Kaspi Mtskheta, Terjola, Krtsanisi, Vake, Dusheti, Gurjaani, Mtats-
minda and Zugdidi,
Voting without proper documentation 3 complaints were
filed with DECs of Batumi, Lagodekhi and Senaki Violation of rules for sealing election materials 9
complaints over 34 violations were filed with DECs of Mar-
Failure to validate a ballot 3 complaints were filed with neuli, Batumi, Lanckhuti, Kutaisi, Kaspi, Krtsanisi and Kareli.
DECs of Tetritskaro, Marneuli and Kutaisi
Signatures on the voter list exceeding number of ballots 5
Voting without inking 1 complaint was filed with Tskaltubo complaints over 8 violations were filed with DECs of Telavi,
DEC over five violations Lagodekhi, Vani and Batumi.
Restriction of observer rights complaints were filed with
DECs of Gldani, Sagarejo, Kutaisi, Gori, Akhaltsikhe, Zugdi- Failure to properly validate summary protocols 5
di, Khelvachauri, Batumi and Rustavi over 11 violations complaints were filed with DECs of Dmanisi and Mtskheta.
Improper processing of control sheets complaints were Improper placement of a ballot in the ballot box 8 com-
filed with DECs of Baghdati, Kutaisi, Marneuli, Terjola, Gur- plaints were filed with DECs of Kutaisi, Rustavi, Ozurgeti,
jaani, Lagodekhi, Batumi and Khulo over 14 violations. Batumi, Dmanisi, Sagarejo and Gurjaani.

Improper handling of electoral documentation 32 Other types of violations 19 complaints were filed with
complaints were filed with DECs of Vake, Krtsanisi, Gldani, DECs of Krtsanisi, Vake, Mtatsminda, Sagarejo, Akhaltsikhe,
Nadzaladevi, Tskaltubo, Khulo, Akhalsikhe, Khashuri, Khobi, Khelvachauri, Kaspi, Marneuli, Batumi, Lagodekhi
Sagarejo, Khelvachauri, Batumi, Kaspi, Gori, Sighnaghi, Gur- and Gldani. 3
jaani, Lanchkhuti and Tetritskaro.

38
Statistics of complaints filed with DECs:

In accur at e or i nc om p le te su mma ry p ro to co ls 195


Re wr i t t en s um m ar y p ro to co ls 71
Nu mber of bal l ot s e xce e d in g n u mb e r o f sig n at ur es 41
Vi o l ati ons r el at ed t o se a lin g o f ma te ria ls 34
Imp r oper handl i ng o f d o cu me n ta tio n 32
O ther v i ol at i ons 19
Imp r oper pr oc es s i ng o f a co n tro l sh e e t 14
O bstr uc t i on of obs e rve r rig h ts 11
Fa i l ur e t o pr oper l y va lid a te a co p y o f a p ro to c ol 8
Voti ng w i t hout i nk i ng 8
Vi o l ati ons of c as t i ng o f lo ts 5
Fa i l ur e t o v al i dat e a b a llo t 5
Voti ng w i t hout pr ope r d o cu me n ta tio n 4
Vi o l ati on of bal l ot se cre cy 3
Ca mpai gni ng 3
P ol l i ng s t at i ons br ea k-in 2
Tr eats m ade agai nst o b se rve r 2
P ol l i ng s t ar t ed l at e 1
Fa i l ur e t o c as t l ot s 1
Fa i l ur e t o pr ov i de c o p y o f a su mma ry p ro to c ol 1

39
COMPLAINTS FILED IN COURTS

ISFED filed two complaints in Batumi City Court. One


sought invalidation of summary protocols of PECs
#69.79.01 and #70.79.31, and ordering Batumi DEC #79
to impose a disciplinary liability on members of the PEC
#70.79.31.

None of the summary protocols of PEC #70.79.31 had


signatures of PEC members. ISFED filed subsequent
complaint with DEC seeking invalidation of the protocols
and imposition of disciplinary liability on PEC members.
The DEC rejected the complaint and under its resolu-
tion #85/2016 it found that the summary protocols that
lacked signatures were valid. The DEC explained that the
protocols had no legal fault. At PEC #69.79.01 voting
proceeded with violations: for instance, the control sheet
was lacking signature of the first voter; PEC members that
would accompany the mobile ballot box were not deter-
mined on the basis of casting of lots; counting of votes
proceeded in a chaotic and noisy environment and it was
impossible to identify who a ballot was cast in favor of; un-
used ballots were not sealed at a proper time; in one case,
the violations did not have a material impact on elections.
number of ballots exceeded number of voter signatures on
Batumi City Courts decision about both complaints was
the list. Batumi City Court issued a resolution #61/2016
challenged in Kutaisi Appellate Court but the appellate
refusing to grant part of the complaint that sought invalida-
court upheld the decision of the first instance court.
tion of the summary protocols of the PEC #69.79.01 but it
imposed a liability on the PEC Chair, deputy chair and the
Complaint Demands and Liability Imposed on Commission
secretary.
Members

The second complaint sought invalidation of the summa-


Complaints filed with PECs demanded that the violations
ry protocol of the PEC #70.79.54 on the results of the
be responded and corrected.
proportional elections of the parliament of Georgia. Sum of
the number of votes and invalid ballots in the protocol ex-
In most of the complaints filed with DECs ISFED sought
ceeded the number signatures by 8. The Batumi City Court
imposition of disciplinary liability on relevant PEC members,
found it to be a minor violation and rejected the complaint.
including: 147 complaints sought imposition of liability on
PEC secretary, 184 on PEC Chair, and 62 on other
The court combined the complaints and delivered a deci-
members of the PEC. Based on ISFED complaints, disci-
sion on October 15, 2016, granting part of the complaint;
plinary liability was imposed on 343 commission members,
in particular, it ordered Batumi DEC #79 to reconsider the
including a reproof in 237 cases, a warning in 101 cases,
complaint of ISFED and to impose a disciplinary liability
salary deductions in 3 cases, premature termination of PEC
on members of the PEC #70.79.31 concerned. The court
members authority in 1 case and imposition of administra-
refused to invalidate the summary protocol stating that
tive liability in 1 case.

40
R e p ro o f 2 3 7 237
Wa rn i ng 101
S a l a ry d e d u cti o n 3
A d m i n i str a ti ve l i a b i l i t y 1
Te rm i n a ti o n o f a u th or i t y 1
*Ou t o f 3 43 com m i ssi on m em b e r s

PEC chairs received reproofs in 89 cases, warnings in 42


cases, their salary was deducted in 2 cases, premature ter-
mination of authority occurred in 1 case and administrative
liability was imposed in 1 case. PEC secretaries received
reproofs in 105 cases, warnings in 39 cases, salary was
deducted in 1 case; other PEC members received reproofs
in 42 cases and warnings in 20 cases.

Wa rn i n g issued against secretary 105 105


Wa rn i n g issued against chair 89 89
Wa rn i n g issue against other members 43
Wa rn i n g issued against chair 42
Wa rn i n g issued against secretary 39
Wa rn i n g issued against other members 20
D e d u c tion of secretarys salary 1
D e d u c tion of chair s s alary 2
C h a i r order to pay a fine 1
Te rm i n ation of chair s authority 1

ISFED demanded imposition of administrative liability in for instance, altering of summary protocols, sum of votes
13 cases but the demand was granted only in one case; and invalid ballots exceeding the number of signatures,
in particular, DEC #83 of Khelvachauri prepared a proto- etc. The demand was granted in 3 cases and in one case
col of administrative offence against the Chair of the PEC Marneuli DEC #35 invalidated results of the proportional
#72.83.40 for ripping the complaint of ISFED observer. polling in electoral precinct #34. In remaining cases, PEC
Khelvachauri District Court upheld the protocol and or- members concerned were only imposed with a disciplinary
dered the chair of the PEC #40 to pay a fine of GEL 500 for liability.
obstruction of observer rights.

ISFED demanded invalidation of polling results in three


cases at electoral precincts #38 and #79 of Majoritarian
District #66 (Zugdidi) and electoral precinct #54 of Major-
itarian District #21 (Gldani). The demand was granted in
all three cases. ISFED demanded invalidation of summary
protocols and review of polling results in 43 cases due to,

41
RUNOFFS: VIOLATIONS AND COMPLAINTS ON AND FOL- COMPLAINTS FILED WITH PECS
LOWING THE ELECTION DAY
Out of 42 complaints filed with PECs, 4 were granted
On and following the Election Day of the runoffs, ISFED meaning that ISFED did not have to file an additional com-
observers took legal actions in response to 105 violations. plaint with relevant DEC. In the remaining cases, subse-
Out of these violations, warnings were recorded in log- quent complaints were filed with DECs.
books in connection to 14.
Most violations cited in complaints filed with PECs con-
In connection to 91 violations, ISFED filed 42 complaints cerned improper handling of electoral documentation
with PECs and 74 complaints with DECs. One complaint (14 cases); other complaints were filed over presence of
was filed in court. unauthorized individuals at the precinct (5 cases), improper
processing of control sheets (3 cases), violation of secrecy
of vote (3 cases), etc.

Statistics of violations filed with PECs (runoffs):

Imprope r h a n d l i n g o f d oc um ent at i on 14
Other typ e s o f vi o l a ti o n s 6
P res ence o f u n a u th o r i z ed i ndi v i dual s at t he pol l i ng s t ati o n 5
Imprope r p r o ce ssi n g o f c ont r ol s heet s 3
Vi ol ati o n o f b a l l o t se crec y 3
Ink i ng o f vo te r s n o t o n t he l i s t 2
Voti ng b y i n ke d i n d i vi d ual s 2
Fai l ure to ch e ck i n k 1
Numbe r o f b a l l o ts e xce edi ng num ber of s i gnat ur es 1
Control sh e e ts n o t m a t c hi ng 1
Voti ng w i th o u t p r o p e r d oc um ent at i on 1
Restricti o n o f o b se r ve r r i ght s 1
Vi ol ati o n o f ca sti n g l o ts 1
Complaints/claims
Campa i g n i n g filed with DECs and in Court
1

ISFED filed 74 complaints with DECs 29 complaints were satisfied, 15 were granted in part,26 were rejected and 4 were
dismissed without consideration.

4
15 Granted
Granted in part
26
Rejected

29 Dismissed without consideration

42
complaints filed with DECs related to the following types of Doctoring summary protocols 3 complaints were filed with
violations: DECs of Mtatsminda, Kutaisi and Batumi

Improper handling of electoral documentation 12 com- Inadequately filled summary protocols 12 complaints were
plaints were filed with DECs of Saburtalo, Marneuli, Batumi, filed in connection to 23 violations with DECs of Mtatsminda,
Kutaisi, Lanchkhuti and Zugdidi Krtsanisi, Akhaltsikhe, Lanchkhuti, Khelvachauri and Batumi

Presence of unauthorized individuals 4 complaints were Violations related to sealing of materials 3 complaints were
filed with DECs of Poti, Lanckhuti and Akhaltsikhe filed with the DEC of Krtsanisi in connection to 4 violations

Violation of secrecy of vote 4 complaints were filed with Violation of ethics by an election administration officer 1
DECs of Zugdidi, Marneuli and Baghdati complaint was filed with Batumi DEC

Improper filling-in of a control sheet 3 complaints were Other types of violations 10 complaints were filed with
filed with DECs of Gurjaani and Batumi DECs of Vake, Mtskheta, Sagarejo, Rustavi, Marneuli,
Lanckhuti, Batumi, Poti and Zugdidi
Voting by inked individuals 3 complaints were filed with
DECs of Marneuli, Zugdidi and Batumi

Illegal obstruction of observer rights 2 complaints were


filed with DECs of Marneuli and Kutaisi

Violation of casting of lots 2 complaints were filed with


DECs of Sagarejo and Batumi

Failure to validate a ballot 2 complaints were filed with


DECs of Kutaisi and Akhaltsikhe

Inking a voter who was not on the list 2 complaints were


filed with DECs of Samgori and Akhaltsikhe

Failure to check ink prior to voting 1 complaint was filed


with the DEC of Baghdati

Voting with improper documentation 1 complaint was filed


with DEC of Akhaltsikhe

Control sheets not matching 2 complaints were filed with


DEC of Khelvachauri

Number of ballots exceeding the number of voter signatures


7 complaints were filed in connection to 8 violations with
DECs of Nadzaladevi, Sagarejo, Rustavi, Marneuli, Batumi
and Zugdidi

43
Statistics of violations filed with DECs:

Improp e r p ro ce ssin g o f p r o t o c o l 23
Improp e r h a n d lin g o f d o c u m e n t a t i o n 12
Other vio la t io n s 12
Numbe r o f b a llo t s e x c e e d i n g n u m b e r o f s i g n a t u r e s 8
Violatio n s re la t e d t o s e a l i n g o f m a t e r i a l s 4
Violatio n o f b a llo t s s e c r e c y 4
Pr ese n ce o f u n a u t h o r i z e d i n d i v i d u a l s a t t h e p o l l i n g stati
4 on
Rew ri t in g su mma ry p r o t o c o l s 3
Voting b y in ke d in d iv i d u a l s 3
Improp e r p ro ce ssin g o f c o n t r o l s h e e t s 3
Contr o l sh e e t s n o t m a t c h i n g 2
Failur e t o va lid a t e b a l l o t s 2
Inking vo t e rs n o t o n t h e l i s t 2
Violatio n o f ca st in g o f l o t s 2
Restr ict io n o f o b se rv e r r i g h t s 2
Voting wit h o u t p ro p e r d o c u m e n t a t i o n 1
Failur e t o ch e ck in k b e f o r e v o t i n g 1
Violatio n o f e t h ics 1

One complaint was filed in Zugdidi District Court in con- of disciplinary liability on secretaries, in 45 cases on chairs,
nection to the decision of Zugdidi DEC about the precinct in 35 cases on other members. Based on the complaints
#66.67.72. The complaint sought invalidation of the pre- filed by ISFED, the following disciplinary liability was imposed
cinct results. On this polling station, after the ballot box was on 80 commission members: warning as a form disciplinary
opened and ballots were sorted, it was found that voter liability (38 cases), reproof (31 cases), salary deduction (6
cards had been inserted in 35 envelopes together with ballot cases), early termination of authority (5 cases).
papers, which allowed identification of voters and constitut-
ed violation of the secrecy of vote. ISFED demanded inval-
idation of the precinct results but Zugdidi DEC refused to Reproof 31
grant the demand stating that there had not been a violation Warni ng 38
of vote secrecy. Court upheld the position of the DEC and S al ary deduc ti on 6
rejected the claim. E arl y termi nati on of authori ty 5
* Ou t o f 8 0 c o m m i s s i o n m e m b e r s
COMPLAINT DEMANDS AND LIABILITIES IMPOSED ON
COMMISSION MEMBERS
Reproofs were issued against PEC chairs in 6 cases, warn-
ISFED filed 41 complaints with PECs demanding actions in ings in 15 cases, salary deductions occurred in 4 cases,
response to violations. In 1 case it demanded invalidation of early termination of authority in 2 cases. Reproofs were
the mobile ballot box but the demand was rejected. issued against PEC secretaries in 7 cases, warnings in 16
cases, salary deductions occurred in 2 cases, early termina-
In majority of complaints filed with DECs, ISFED demanded tion of authority in 2 cases. Reproofs were issued against
imposition of disciplinary liability on relevant commission other PEC members in 18 cases, warnings in 7 cases and
members; in particular, in 29 cases it demanded imposition early termination of authority in 1 case. Drawing up of a

44
Wa rn in g issued against chai r 15
Wa rn in g s issued against se cret ary 16
Wa rn in g issued against other m em bers 7
Re p r o o f issued against chai r 6
Re p r o o f issued against secret ary 7
Re p r o o f issued against other m em bers 18
De d u c tio n of chair s salar y 4
De d u c tio n of secr etar ys sa l ary 2
Te rmin a tion of chair s authori t y 2
Te rmin a tion of secr etar ys aut hori t y 2
Te rmin a tion of author ity of ot her m em bers 1

protocol of administrative offences was demanded in 3 cas- often had to deal with unconstructive and aggressive
es but the demands were rejected. In one of these cases, attitudes. This particularly concerns the DECs of Batumi,
disciplinary liability was imposed on PEC members. Lanchkhuti, Ozurgeti and Telavi.

ISFED demanded review of polling results in 9 cases where During review of complaints, instead of opening and ex-
summary protocols were altered, sum of votes and invalid amining documentation, DECs mostly relied on explan-
ballots exceeded the number of signatures, a properly vali- atory statements of PEC members, without verifying the
dated copy of a summary protocol provided to the observ- information. Often these statements were written after
er did not match the protocol submitted to the DEC, etc. the violation was reported, as opposed to when the
These demands were rejected. violation was committed, which raised questions about
their credibility;
In two cases ISFED demanded invalidation of voting results
but the demands were rejected. One complaint concerned Outcomes of the complaints process suggests that DEC
PEC #72.83.03 where control sheets did not match, and an- were mostly reluctant to review election results and they
other complaint concerned PEC #66.67.72 where secrecy were only willing to impose disciplinary liabilities;
of vote was violated in 35 cases, in the same form.
Often DECs rejected complaints stating that gross
PROBLEMS/TRENDS IDENTIFIED IN THE COMPLAINTS violation of law had not occurred and it had not had any
PROCESS OF THE FIRST ROUND OF THE ELECTIONS AND THE effect on election outcomes or free will of voters. This
RUNOFFS argument is completely unjustified because gravity of
violations varies and most of them may not even have
Generally, ISFED complaints were reviewed in adherence to an impact on election outcomes albeit they clearly con-
applicable election legislation. ISFED representatives were stitute violation of procedures established by the law.
able to attend the adjudication process and voice ISFEDs Hence, it is unacceptable for DECs to ignore procedures
positions about the complaints. However, ISFED detected and requirements prescribed by the law with the aim of
certain problems related to consideration of complaints and allowing PEC members to escape responsibility;
to decisions made by DECs, which need to be corrected:
By ignoring and circumventing requirements in the
In the complaints process some DECs failed to ade- Guidelines for Election Disputes adopted by the CEC,
quately examine evidences, summon witnesses and district electoral commissions of Gldani and Kutaisi
members of PECs and take their statements. In some refused to consider complaints filed by ISFED observers
cases, ISFED observers were prevented from partic- after recognizing the observers as unauthorized repre-
ipating in the complaints process to a full extent and sentatives of the organization;

45
DECs of Kaspi, Khashuri, Zugdidi, Nadzaladevi In some cases DECs reacted to same types of
used the term dismissing complaint without consideration violations in a different way, including in DECs of Krtsanisi,
in the wrong way, in connection to complaints that were not Mtatsminda, Akhaltsikhe and Batumi.
granted;
ISFED observers noted poor qualification of some PEC
Some DECs, including Batumi, Khelvachauri, Kaspi, members, especially with regard to filling out of summary
Isani and others, mixed up the legal terms invalidation of a protocols. Summary protocols were lacking certain manda-
summary protocol and invalidation of voting results. tory requisites, were filled out improperly or some data had
been rewritten without drawing up of a protocol for amend-
Some decisions made by DECs were ill-founded or ing a summary protocol.
relevant resolutions did not discuss the violations provided
in complaints. This was observed, for instance, in DECs of
Lagodekhi, Sagarejo, Rustavi, Tetritskaro, Khashuri, Borjomi,
Tskaltubo, Isani, Saburtalo, Krtsanisi, Baghdati, Marneuli,
Poti, Akhaltsikhe, Gori, Dmanisi and Ozurgeti.

XIV. RECOMMENDATIONS

The parliament and government should take timely and tions. This will ensure increased professionalism of election
effective steps for changing the electoral system. The State commissions and contribute to their independence from
Constitutional Commission should reach an agreement on political influence.
such Constitutional provision regarding electoral system
that will remedy the problems existing under the current To improve the level of professionalism, introduction of
system and ensure that the votes of citizens are proportion- mandatory certification requirement for PEC members is
ately translated into seats in parliament. At a later stage, a desired.
working group, with broad inclusion of stakeholders, should
be created for introducing relevant changes to the Election Number of members in electoral commissions should be
Code so that the legislation providing for the new electoral reduced to enable hiring of qualified individuals in election
system is in place within reasonable time ahead of the next administration.
parliamentary elections.
In view of the shortcomings identified during the elections,
more attention should be paid to training of PEC members,
To transform the election administration into a qualified especially in preparing of summary protocols.
and impartial entity it is important to revise the rules of
composition of all three tiers of the election administration. It is necessary to continue working to improve elector-
Preference should be given to professionalization of the al framework and election environment. Ambiguous and
administration and selection of members based on qualifica- dubious norms in the Election Code should be clarified for

46
instance, the law should clearly define the notion of vote
buying and determine a competent state agency that takes
adequate further actions and has effective leverage for
examining vote-buying incidents. Alternative measures of
responsibility should exist for vote buying during pre-election
period, in proportion to gravity of violations concerned. These
issues should be regulated on the basis of the best interna-
tional practice.

It is important to revise rules that regulate participation in


campaigning. For instance, non-commercial legal entities
should be prohibited from participating in pre-election cam-
paigning; participation of civil servants in campaigning through
social media should be regulated, so should campaigning on
the Georgian territory from the territory of a foreign country;
norms that regulate participation of charity organizations in
campaigning should be clarified as existing provision is inade-
quate and ineffective, as proven by practice.

To effectively prevent the misuse of administrative resources


in favor of a party, the list of officials with unrestricted right to
participate in campaigning and canvassing should be nar-
rowed down.

It is important to revise the chapter about electoral disputes


in the Election Code to clarify ambiguous norms to prevent
any inaccurate or inconsistent use of these norms by electoral
commissions. Political parties should develop their internal Code of Ethics
that will provide for tight sanctions against members or candi-
Some polling procedures should be simplified to minimize dates that make discriminatory comments or hate speech.
mistakes on part of electoral commission members due to
complexity of existing procedures.

To promote womens participation in politics, legislation


should provide for a temporary mandatory gender quotas for
party lists. Parties should also introduce voluntary quotas for
proportional lists in their party statutes.

Norms that regulate funding from the state budget should be


revised and clarified, as they have caused uncertainty and
controversy.

The mandate and format of the Interagency Commission for


Free and Fair Elections should be clearly defined. Mechanism
for monitoring recommendations issued by the Commission
should be established.

47