NewsPresidentials 2018

Watchdogs Warn Against Voter Mobilization by Municipal Authorities

Three leading Georgian civil society organizations claim municipal authorities in several regions of Georgia are mobilizing supporters for the ruling party-endorsed candidate, Salome Zurabishvili. The CSOs stress this violates the country’s electoral legislation.

The organizations, including GYLA, TI and ISFED, say they hold evidence that employees of non-profit legal entities, public agencies funded and operated by municipality governments, have been instructed to compile lists of potential voters of Salome Zurabishvili.

According to the Watchdogs, the employees were asked to fill out and submit premade forms with personal details of ten likely voters. “The employees said the supporters’ lists were being compiled to secure Salome Zurabishvili’s victory in the first round,” reads their statement.

The CSOs say employees interviewed by their observers fear they may be dismissed if they speak out about the problem. Watchdogs believe this contains “elements of coercion and pressure,” and amounts to use of administrative resources, which is banned by the legislation.

The civil society organizations call on the municipal authorities and the ruling party to avoid abusing the administrative resources ahead of the upcoming presidential elections, and on public servants to “refuse to follow partisan orders and speak openly if it takes place.”

The elections will take place on October 28. This will be the last time that the head of state will be elected through direct ballot. According to the new constitution, which will enter into force upon new president’s inauguration, the heads of state will be elected by a 300-member Electoral College for a term of five years starting from 2024.

For the extended background, follow our Weekly Elections Digest or the 2018 Presidential Elections Tag.

This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)


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