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Georgian Parliament Toughens Criminal Liability for Electoral Violations

On September 3, the Parliament of Georgia approved by 81 votes new Georgian Dream party-proposed provisions that tighten punishments for election offenses. The opposition MPs from the United National Movement and European Georgia parties did not attend the vote.

The following provisions, adopted with an accelerated procedure less than two months before crucial October parliamentary polls, were added to Article 164 of the Criminal Code of Georgia:

1. Influencing voter’s will and/or breach of the secrecy of the ballot, committed under coercion or threat, shall be punished by a fine, home confinement for a term from 6 months to up to a year, or imprisonment for up to 2 years;

2. Same acts committed through violence or using material means or managerial dependency shall be punished by a fine, home confinement for a term of 6 months up to 2 years or imprisonment for up to 3 years

3. The same acts committed more than once, against two or more persons, or by a group shall be punished by imprisonment for up to 4 years.

New provisions go into effect immediately.

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