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CEC Rejects Complaints
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 13 Jan.'08 / 02:20

A late-night session of the Central Election Commission, which ended at 1am local time on January 13, has turned down all the complaints pushed for by the opposition and observer organizations.
MP Kakha Kukava from the nine-party opposition coalition has submitted to the CEC session copies of 18 vote summary protocols, claimed to be falsified in favor of Mikheil Saakashvili. He demanded to invalidate results in those precincts. Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association (GYLA), an organization overseeing the pre and post-election periods and Election Day itself, has also suggested earlier that some vote summary tallies have been falsified.

The CEC, however, declined to consider the issue with seven votes to six. The opposition parties have six members in the commission.

Later at the same session the CEC members decided to again return back to discussion of the issue upon the request of MP Pavle Kublashvili of the ruling party. Pro-governmental members of the CEC said they would agree to consider the complaint if the opposition would have submitted original and not the copies of alleged falsified protocols. At that time MP Kukava was no longer present at the session; when he was contacted on the phone and asked to present original protocols, he agreed but added he would need some time for that. In a response CEC chairman, Levan Tarkhnishvili, said there was no time for waiting and announced the matter would not be discussed.

Then Giorgi Chkheidze, head of watchdog group GYLA, intervened into decision by announcing that he had previously submitted to the CEC original protocols (from some precincts of Batumi and Khelvachauri districts), which as claimed by the group, were also falsified, but CEC declined to even consider them. Chkheidze demanded to return back to discussion of protocols submitted by him earlier, but the complaint was also turned down.

CEC has also declined the opposition’s complaint demanding to invalidate results of those precincts, where, as claimed by the opposition “unbelievably high voter turnout” was noted, specifically in some precincts of Akhalkalaki, Akhaltsikhe, Ninotsminda, Gori, Tsalka, Tetritskaro, Bolnisi, Marneuli and Gardabani. MP Kukava also demanded from the CEC to give him an access to video footage from CCTV cameras which were installed at some of those precincts. CCTVs were installed mainly in towns on the registration desk and the ballot box of polling stations. CEC, however, responded that it was a huge amount of footage and it would need too much time to analyze the footage.

CEC has also declined to consider the issue related with so called ‘dumped ballot papers.’ CEC chairman, Levan Tarkhnishvili, said that the opposition should have notified the police immediately after the opposition has allegedly found ballots on the dump, instead of raising this issue several days later at the CEC session.
The CEC session has also rejected complaints filed by the observer organizations, New Generation – New Initiative (nGnI) and GYLA. The latter demanded to invalidate results from a precinct in Khelvachauri citing mass procedural violations during the polling day and nGnI was pushing for invalidation of results at a precinct in Tbilisi’s Samgori district. Both of these appeals, however, were turned down by the CEC citing that complaints were “filed with procedural violations.” “Those filing complaints should know how to properly do that,” Tarkhnishvili, the CEC chairman, said.

Heated debates with verbal exchange between the opposition and pro-governmental members of the commission prevailed during the session.

The CEC is expected to be reconvened at 10am local time on January 13 to discuss final vote tally, which after approval will officially endorse re-election of Mikheil Saakashvili.

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