Chairperson of the Central Election Commission (CEC), Tamar Zhvania, has called on the authorities to investigate and eradicate cases of pressure on candidates, which has led to their withdrawal from the race ahead of the June 15 local elections.
Election watchdog groups said on May 30 that reports from ten provincial municipalities that up to thirty opposition candidates, almost half of them from UNM party, are withdrawing from the race as a result of pressure is becoming a pattern that requires to be urgently addressed and investigated.
Withdrawal of candidates has led in some municipalities to cancelation of the entire party list of candidates of some non-parliamentary opposition parties as they no longer have minimum required number of candidates to run in proportional contest for Sakrebulo seats in those respective municipalities.
CEC chairperson said on May 31 that several candidates have notified the election administration about being forced to cancel their registration because of pressure exerted on them.
“This process is dangerous, because it may cause annulment of party list of specific election subjects,” she said.
“This is a direct threat of creating unequal election environment and damaging electoral process,” Zhvania said.
“It is important to eradicate actions that affect negatively on elections, because our major priority is to secure voting rights of each voter, to create all the conditions to have equal and fair environment during pre-election period and on election day.”
“I call on the competent authorities to take relevant measures for investigation, eradication and prevention of such cases of pressure,” the CEC chairperson said, adding that CEC will send files on these cases to the law enforcement agencies for further probe.