PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS IN THE REPUBLIC OF GEORGIA - 2000

(Report of the National Section of Georgia of the International Society for Human Rights/ISHR)




I) THE PRESIDENTIAL PRE-ELECTION CAMPAIGN


The Presidential pre-election campaign in Georgia proceeded with many violations. On March 28, 2000, in Zugdidi (West Georgia) the activists of the "Citizen's Union" (E. Shevardnadze's party) pelt with stones the participants of the pre-election meeting with the Presidential candidate, Mr. Jumber Patiashvili. Before this, the pre-election journey of J. Patiashvili in Kakheti (East Georgia) was also marked by rough violations by the "Citizen's Union" and the local authority. They didn't permit Mr. Patiashvili to meet with the villagers. Moreover, the front wheels of his car were made an incision which resulted in a car accident. This fact was mentioned by the Chairman of the Supreme Council of the Ajarian Autonomous Republic, the leader of the Block "Sakartvelos Agordzineba", Mr. Aslan Abashidze on March 27, in his Batumi press-conference. The analogous violations were marked in the begining of March in Bolnisi where the participants of the pre-election meeting with Mr. Patiashvili were pelt with rotten eggs by instructions of the "Citizen's Union".
During the pre-election campaign E. Shevardnadze publicly declared (without any sign of humor), that "if Shevardnadze will not be elected, it will be a crime..." (TV schedule "Night's courier", Tbilisi, March 25). The chairman of the Georgian Parliament, Mr. Zurab Zhvania talked about this also ("Night's courier", March 30).
The principle of equality of rights of the Presidential candidates is roughly violated. E. Shevardnadze broadly profits by the preferences of his acting presidency. As the clear examples it is enough to mention the recent visits in Tbilisi of the Federal Chancellor of Germany and Ex-Minister of Foreign Affairs of Germany and their public declarations for Shevardnadze's favour. As well it may be said about visits in Georgia of the Presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia. All it gives obvious a nonequal situation for the Presidential candidates.
On March 30, 2000, in Vani (West Georgia) the posters of the Presidential candidate, Mr. J. Patiashvili were removed on the order of the "Citizen's Union".
On March 30, 2000, the Central Election Commission of Georgia (Chairman - Mr. J. Lominadze) refused to register the members of the National Section of Georgia of the International Society for Human Rights (ISHR) as the local observers on the Presidential elections because this Human Rights NGO "was registered later than the settled date, January, 1998". The National Section of Georgia of the ISHR was founded in December, 1998, by decision of the International Secretariat of the ISHR. Of course it couldn't be registered in Georgia before January, 1998. The National Section of Georgia of the ISHR responsible declares such completely artificial limitation was the rough violation of the International standards.
The Central Election Commission explicitly refused to mark the voters and to replace wooden ballot-boxes by the transparents.
The Central Election Commission decided that for voting the next identity cards will be presented on the Presidential Elections in April, 9, 2000: the passport of the Republic of Georgia, the passport of the former USSR, the certificates of refugee, pensioner or driver's license.
The April, 8, showed us the apogee of the Presidential pre-election campaign - the truncheon of the police diligently "decorated" many young people who came from the concert at the Tbilisi Sportpalace to the hospital. It wasn't a usual concert. It was the pay for their good behaviour. Two days before they took part in so-called "noughty elections" where they "elected the future". The half of the ballot-paper was a free ticket to the concert but about 25.000 young people (mainly the students of the Tbilisi and Kutaisi State Universities) couldn't lodge in the palace where the placards "we elect the future" were substituted for "we elect Shevardnadze". It was the violation of the Election Law: before the elections day doesn't permit to agitate for the candidate. But it was also a good lesson for the activists of the "Young Citizen's Union", the straight heir of the soviet Komsomol - "Young Communist League". Shevardnadze, who came to the concert, soon went away because it was heard abusive noise. After his leaving the bottles flighted to the scene. The Concert was broken down but the police was very active. They persued the "happy" young electors even on the street. The foto-correspondent of the newspaper "Kviris Palitra", Mr. Giorgi Abdaladze got concussion of the brain and his camera was trampled by the colonel of police. Indeed that was apogee not only the Presidential pre-election campaign but the democracy in Georgia.

II) THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS - APRIL, 9, 2000


The significant violations also took place during the poll. There are some clear examples:
1) In the No 5 Polling Station of the Senaki Election District the representative of the "Citizen's Union" threw the 500 ballot-papers in the ballot-box what was fixed by the members of the Commission;
2) The Presidential candidate Mr. Jumber Patiashvili's representatives didn't receive to acquaintance the total minutes in the Polling Stations of the Tbilisi Saburtalo Election District. The minutes were sent on to the District Commission without signatures of the representatives of Mr. Patiashvili;
3) In the Gomareti Polling Station of the Tetri Tskaro Election District was fixed that Mr. Patiashvili polled 100 votes more than Mr. Shevardnadze. The representatives of Mr. Patiashvili couldn't become acquainted with the total minutes, which then was sent on to the District Commission with the false data;
4) The Central Election Commission announced the fantastic number of voters in Georgia: 3,2 millions (the total number of the population of Georgia equal about 5 millions minus about 1 million who have left the country in 1993-1999 because of a miserable standard of living);
5) On April, 9, at 18.30 o'clock, in the Ajarian Autonomous Republic were polled only 11% of voters. At 20.00 o'clock the TV schedule "Rustavi 2" and the first channel declared surprising number of voters - "more than 70%";
6) In the No 4 Polling Station of the Tbilisi Nadzaladevi Election district the representatives of Mr. Patiashvili's Staff fixed the polls of the assumed persons;
7) In all Election Districts of Tbilisi were fixed the polls of the lates;
8) In the No 2-4 Polling Stations of the Kaspi Election District were many violations of the local authorities and police. The observers were banished out of these polling stations;
9) In the No 8, 19, 20, 25 Polling Stations of the Tbilisi Saburtalo Election District were fixed at 500 false ballot-papers each;
10) In all Poling Stations of the Tbilisi Nadzaladevi and Mtatsminda Election Districts were fixed many plural votes;
11) In the Martkopi Polling Station of the Gardabani Election District the chairman of the Commission handed voters in good time prepared ballot-papers;
12) In the Tbilisi Election Districts the observers were not accompanied the portable ballot-boxes;
13) The representatives of the oppositional parties and observers were banished from all Polling stations of the Vani Election District;
14) The observers were banished from all Polling Stations of the Abasha Election District;
15) An observer from the OSCE was ordered to leave a polling booth in the city of Martvili;
16) Some of the 150 observers from the OSCE reported violations, including stuffing of ballot-boxes, tampering with ballot-papers, police in polling places and election observers denied access.
THE COUNCIL OF THE NATIONAL SECTION OF GEORGIA OF THE INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY FOR HUMAN RIGHTS (ISHR)
Dr. Levan Z. Urushadze
President
ISHR-Georgia
____________________________________________________ ISHR-Georgia
G.Tsabadze Street 3-32,
Tbilisi 380012,
Republic of Georgia.
Tel/Fax: (+995 32) 348651
E-mail: ishr_georgia@hotmail.com
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