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Election Watchdog Slams CEC

The Central Election Commission (CEC) was “indolent” to look into alleged violations on and after election day, Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association (GYLA) said on January 13.

GYLA, which fielded 400 election observers in Tbilisi, Kutaisi, Batumi and Khelvachauri, has filed 230 complaints to election administrations. Only one has been accepted (in Kutaisi District Election Commission). “Having unlawfully interpreted the provisions of the election code the CEC rejected all complaints submitted before it by GYLA, thereby refusing to undo the alleged violations of the election process,” the watchdog group said in a statement.
It also said that a court hearing into a complaint made by it was still on-going and so the CEC had breached the law by approving the final vote tally of the January 5 election. “The CEC is forbidden from summarizing the election results before the courts have decided on an election-related dispute,” the election code reads.

“By refusing to deal with the merits of election complaints over the last week and with the unlawful summarization of results, the election administration and judicial authorities have failed to remedy the alleged violations and infringed the principle of the Rule of Law, which constitutes the cornerstone and is a pre-condition for declaring the election as fair and democratic,” GYLA said in the statement.

The group also said that it had found discrepancies between vote summary protocols of some precincts (in Batumi and Khelvachauri) and those that were released later by the District Election Commission and the CEC.

Unlike its post-election assessment, GYLA has been generally positive in its comments on polling day itself. Despite some procedural violations on election day, it said on January 7, in general the polls were held without any mass violations.


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