During an outdoor campaign rally in Rustavi on August 19, leader of Georgian Dream opposition coalition, Bidzina Ivanishvili, called on voters to be active and to turn out at polling stations in the October 1 parliamentary elections.
“Election day is the day when power is in the hands of people; this is decisive day and if we fail to use this day, everything might be late next day,” he told thousands of supporters gathered at the rally.
In his speech Ivanishvili also said that under the threat of losing their jobs, people of various professions, employed in the state-funded institutions “are dragged into” the process of “falsifying elections” by the authorities; in particular he specified that public school teachers, apparently referring to those usually serving as members of precinct election commissions, “have been made by the authorities as main participants and executors of this falsification.”
“Fear towards losing the job cannot serve as an excuse in this case,” Ivanishvili said, adding that ballot rigging was no less crime than money counterfeiting. “No one should be surprised if in the just and democratic state ballot riggers will be treated by the law in the same way like money counterfeiters.”
“We have elaborated mechanisms how to resist this machinery of falsifying [elections]. We know all those people, whom [the authorities] have dragged into this process of falsifying [elections],” Ivanishvili said. “Like theft, falsification of [elections] is a criminal offense too and everyone who commits this crime will be punished. We will be the first who will establish this practice in this country and by doing so we will put an end to a shameful tradition of falsifying elections, which we have failed to overcome for last twenty years already.”
“Those who will dare to steal votes, rig ballots and by doing so [will dare] to seize our homeland’s future, will be strictly held responsible before the law,” he added.
In his speech Ivanishvili also said that in case of coming into power, the Georgian Dream coalition would to amend the criminal procedures code by replacing current practice of consecutive sentencing with concurrent one.
Ivanishvili said that the Georgian Dream would hold next large outdoor campaign rallies in Racha-Lechkhumi region on August 26-27 and then in Kakheti region’s main town of Telavi on September 2.