Three activists of the Georgian Dream opposition coalition, led by Bidzina Ivanishvili, have been arrested over voter bribery charges, the Interior Ministry and chief prosecutor’s office said on June 7.
Rustavi 2 TV reported on June 5 that ahead of planned campaign rally in Kutaisi on June 10, Georgian Dream activists were distributing flyers in the city and also offering citizens to write down their dreams on one part of flyers, promising them various home appliances worth of no more than GEL 1,000. Three activists, young men in Georgian Dream t-shirts, told Rustavi 2 TV that the Georgian Dream would make those “dreams” come true before the elections and donate supporters’ those gifts, which they would write on flyers.
Those three activists were arrested and charged with vote-buying, involving promising citizens valuable gifts, which according to the criminal code can be punished either with fine or up to three years in jail.
One of those arrested, Mikheil Meskhi, told journalists on June 6, that he had no instructions from the Georgian Dream to give any promise about gifts to voters.
All three have been sacked from the Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia for violating the party’s charter, the Ivanishvili-led party said. It, however, also said in a statement on June 7, that a motion to the court by prosecutor’s office requesting pre-trial detention of the three men was a move beyond any necessity and part of the authorities’ campaign aimed “at manipulating voters’ will through intimidation.”