Georgian Speaker Archil Talakvadze said at a press conference on August 26 that the governing Georgian Dream party will propose further changes to the Electoral and Criminal Codes, involving toughening penalties against attempts to intimidate, threaten, or coerce voters, as well as breaching vote secrecy.
The announcement comes some two months ahead of crucial October parliamentary elections.
Draft amendments will be registered in the parliament today, Speaker Talakvadze noted, adding that those failing to abide by the electoral laws will face criminal liability.
He said, “intimidation or coercion of voters which breaches vote secrecy, committed in various forms, will result in a fine or home confinement for a term of six months to two years, or imprisonment up to three years.”
“Our goal is to uphold the highest democratic standard[s] while holding 2020 parliamentary polls,” Talakvadze concluded.
Georgian Dream has a total of 93 MPs in the 150-member Parliament while passing the changes will require a simple majority of 76 lawmakers.
In July, the Parliament adopted a number of changes to the Electoral Code, including barring central and local government bodies from airing ads over the undertaken or planned works for the period of 60 days ahead of the polling day, banning employees of state funded entities from election agitating during the working hours, as well as introducing the so-called gender quotas.