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GYLA Protects the Rights of Electorate
/ 6 Nov.'03 / 12:50

GYLA representatives appealed to the local elections commission on the violations taking place in Kvemo Kartli Region during November 2, 2003 parliamentary elections in Georgia.

"This [massive ballot fraud] was the highest level of impudence ever committed against the people"-Tina Khidasheli of GYLA said at the press conference arranged on November 4, 2003.

"The extremities we faced this time, where in none of the previous elections in the history of independent Georgia"-Tina Khidasheli added.

On November 2, 2003 citizens of Georgia voted for electing the new legislative branch of the government; however as the observers of the international and local organizations already noted this election were far from the international standards.

GYLA observed several polling stations at Kvemo Kartli, Adjara and Tbilisi. The observers say serious violations were detected in Rustavi, Gardabani, Bolnisi and Marneuli polling stations. They claim the civil activity in Bolnisi District was very low, however the Central Election Commission (CEC) based on local election commission information provides different data. Observers also say majority of the electorate in Kvemo Kartli did not know how to vote and could not read in Georgian, thus the members of the commission were "assisting" them in making their decision.   

More violations took place in Kvemo Kartli where few polling stations were open later than laid down by the law. In some of the polling stations either marking of the citizens did not take place or the voter marking checking equipment did not work and the voting was conducted even in the case the citizens did not show the ID cards or passports.

"Besides, the members of Bolnisi and Marneuli precinct election commission did everything to hinder the activity of our [GYLA] observers. There were attempts to bribe our observers for conducting the ballot fraud, some heads of commissions threatened the observers and suggested them to vote in the polling stations they were observing"-Zura Burduli of GYLA told at the press conference.

GYLA representatives ensure they can prove all these violations by the tape recorded in the place of action.
The observers were attacked in the Adjara region as well. The member of GYLA Giorgi Mshvenieradze was arrested by the Kobuleti (Adjara Autonomous Republic) police while observing the election process in Kobuleti, Adjara Autonomous Republic.

Giorgi Mshvenieradze tried to stop the local inhabitant from conducting the ballot fraud in Kobuleti.
As the Adjara officials say the observer is under preliminary detention in Kobuleti. The observer has the accusation of attempt of deliberate cancellation of the elections (Article 162 of the Criminal Code of Georgia), hooliganism committed by use of gun or other object applied as a weapon (Section 3, article 239) and resistance, threat or violence against protector of public order or other government representative (article 353).

"We hope the Adjara court will be just and humane and ascertain that Giorgi Mshvnieradze was simply exercising his rights as an observer, which are laid down in the electoral code of Georgia"-Tina Khidasheli said.

Currently GYLA is trying to appeal against the legality of preliminary detention of Giorgi Mshvenieradze.

This was not the only attempt to hinder the activity of observers in Adjara. After the voting time was expired the GYLA spectators say they were not allowed to leave the polling stations and only with the help of OSCE mission in Adjara the activists were able to leave the territory of the autonomous republic.
 
 "Considering all these facts, we [GYLA] demand to eliminate the results of the elections in Kvemo Kartli and Adjara as the basic rights of the citizens were violated there"-Tina Khidasheli said.

In case the GYLA appeals will not be considered by the district election commission, the CSO representatives say they will appeal to the CEC and all the instances of courts to protect the rights of the electorate.

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