Several electoral violations have been reported by UNM members and representatives during the runoff votes of the 2016 parliamentary elections, including allegations of vote buying, violence and procedural issues.
According to the UNM, an observer from the NGO “Young Europeans” Albert Merebashvili has been beaten up. The UNM has also claimed that an observer was beaten up by members of the local council and the city administration. The Ministry of Internal Affairs has opened an investigation. The executive secretary of the Georgian Dream, Irakli Kobakhidze, has claimed that Merebashvili started the fight himself by insulting Georgian Dream supporters and that he is a member of UNM’s candidate, Badri Basishvili’s special op group.
Furthermore, the United National Movement has alleged that their observer at a Marneuli polling station, Nana Minasian, has been beaten up.
United National Movement member Otar Kakhidze stated that “the elections are basically being falsified” and has claimed that in the 50th electoral district in Marneuli a member of the electoral commission has been opening envelopes and reading people’s ballot papers. After Kakhidze and other UNM observers reported the issue, they were removed from the polling station.
These allegations are yet to be confirmed by the Central Electoral Commission. The CEC has only confirmed that a number of observers have been removed from polling stations for allegedly disrupting voting procedures. Earlier today the executive secretary of Georgian Dream, Irakli Kobakhidze, claimed that the UNM is purposefully trying to disrupt the vote on the 50th electoral district.
Otar Kakhidze has also claimed that in the 50th PEC the deputy chairman of the electoral commission gave to the voter the phone together with their ballot paper. The voter took a photo and then gave the phone back to deputy chairman.
The Foreign Relations Secretary of UNM Giga Bokeria has also alleged that voters in the 50th electoral district have been asked whom they voted for, and voter names were not checked off the register and that they may therefore be able to vote twice.
UNM member Elene Khoshtaria has made similar claims whilst UNM members in Rustavi have shared a video which appears to show the regional Georgian Dream coordinator Tamaz Nozadze has been handing money out to voters.
According to UNM’s majoritarian candidate in Rustavi, Mamuka Chikovani, certain criminal groups allegedly organised by the government have been making threats, forcing UNM representatives to leave the territory.
According to the UNM, a ballot paper was lost at the 4th polling station in Akhaltsikhe. Representatives of the UNM at that ballot station, Iveri Balakhashvili, have claimed that that at the midday count, one ballot was missing.