The use of institutional administrative resources was “problematic” in the pre-election campaign, Transparency International Georgia said in a report presented today. The report has not yet been published.
TI Georgia suggested that in almost all the regions, employees of organizations financed by the state budget were mobilized to attend Georgian Dream electoral events.
TI Georgia’s assessments were criticized by representatives of the ruling party.
Kakha Kaladze, Georgian Dream’s mayoral candidate for Tbilisi, said that NGOs serve as a “targeted.. propaganda machine.”
“This is a big lie. It is unfortunate that through such NGOs a targeted, deceiving propaganda machine is turned on [in Georgia]. It is very unfortunate, because we left all of that in 2012. We all remember what kind of conditions there were before 2012. Fortunately, we have a totally different reality now in which all political parties and candidate have the opportunity to have campaigns in a free environment,” Kaladze said.
Chairman of the Parliament of Georgia Irakli Kobakhidze also commented that NGOs in Georgia got “used to talking without facts.”
“Unfortunately, specific NGOs got used to talking without facts, which is very unfortunate, and it is a wrong practice. We want to call upon [NGOs] to talk with facts and based on facts. We cannot make a serious statement on what we’ve heard today. We left that period in 2012, when administrative resources and the ruling party were completely merged in the country,” stated Kobakhidze.
In their presentation, TI Georgia marks that directors of kindergartens were asked to create lists of Georgian Dream supporters among the parents. They did not specify in the presentation whether this occurred in Tbilisi or in the regions, or who asked for the lists. The report also noted that it was unclear why the Prosecutor’s Office did not find grounds to open an investigation.
The report also documents an incident on October 4, 2017 in the town of Dmanisi in southern Georgia, when ruling Georgian Dream party members forced local muslims to swear on the Koran that they would vote for Georgian Dream candidates in the local elections.
TI also notes questionable cases when 168 village commissioners in the Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti region were re-appointed from regular positions, to temporary positions.
“These actions aren’t in accordance with the law and might have a negative effect on the electoral processes, especially when some of the village commissioners have stated in confidential talks with us that their stay [on their positions] was dependent on the results of the Georgian Dream in specific villages in the local self-government elections,” TI Georgia says.