Activists from Georgian Dream coalition are gathered outside District Election Commissions (DECs) in several of those provincial constituencies where United National Movement’s (UNM) MP candidates, according to official results, are leading in majoritarian races.
Chairman of the Central Election Commission (CEC), Zurab Kharatishvili, said on October 3, that activists were exerting pressure on members of DECs.
He said that the most serious situation was in Tetritskaro last night. He said that DEC members in Tetritskaro were forced to change their initial decision as a result of “pressure and intimidation”.
According to data from all but one precinct in Tetritskaro single-mandate constituency, available on CEC’s website, UNM’s majoritarian MP candidate, Davit Bezhuashvili is in lead by 161 votes over Georgian Dream candidate Shalva Khachapuridze. Bezhuashvili has 47.89% of voters and Khachapuridze – 46.49% of votes.
“A huge pressure is also being exerted on DEC members in Terjola involving psychological pressure and verbal abuse [of DEC members], which is completely inadmissible,” he said.
In Terjola, UNM majoritarian candidate has won with 48.78% of votes; Georgian Dream candidate has 45.45%, according to data available on CEC’s website from all the precincts of Terjola single-mandate constituency in western region of Imereti.
Kharatishvili also said that problems of this type, but of less scale, were observed in total of 19 DECs, among them in Ambrolauri, Martvili, Lagodekhi, Marneuli and Khashuri; serious incidents occurred in several precincts of Khashuri after the polling stations were closed in this town of Shida Kartli region on October 1.
Before making announcement about the problems in some of the DECs, Kharatishvili met with a group of Tbilisi-based western diplomats.
EU ambassador to Georgia, Philip Dimitrov, told journalists after the meeting that diplomats were informed about “some problems that are occurring right now.”
“Leaders of all parties have committed themselves to the rule of law and the rule of law means that there are procedures that have to be followed. If someone considers that procedure has not been followed rightly the rule of law says that you appeal according to rules and this is how it should be,” the EU ambassador said.
“Anything beyond this can be interpreted as going away from the principles of the rule of law,” he said.
“So our message is be calm, let the institutions do their job calmly and undisturbed. If there are things that you don’t like, things which you consider [to be] done wrongly, then appeal and do it according to the rule of law. This is the way for Georgia to really achieve the European and Euro-Atlantic future it is aiming at,” Dimitrov said.
Meanwhile, UNM said in a statement the Georgian Dream “leaders and hundreds of activists are pressuring and intimidating District Election Commission (DEC) members” in Terjola, Ambrolauri, Kutaisi, Martvili, Zugdidi, Signagi, Marneuli, Tetritskaro, Tsalka, Khashuri and Bolnisi single-mandate constituencies.
Inter-agency commission at the National Security Council of Georgia, which is tasked with addressing election-related violations, has called on the Georgian Dream to stop mobilizing its supporters outside DECs as “threats of violence is fraught with threat of escalating violence.” It has also called on the Georgian Dream to challenge results only through legal procedures.
Irakli Alasania, one of Georgian Dream leaders, who according to official results has been defeated in Zugdidi majoritarian race by UNM’s candidate Roland Akhalaia, has claimed ballot rigging and said he would challenge the official results. He said were serious violations in 68 precincts out of Zugdidi’s total of 109 precincts; he also said that complaints have been filed to the court.