Elections, News

Clean sweep for government in Georgia’s local election

by | July 14, 2014
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TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian Dream coalition won the second round of the local election in every city and municipality, according to preliminary results from Georgia’s Central Election Commission (CEC). Davit Narmania, Georgian Dream candidate for Tbilisi mayor,

Elections, News

Landslide victory for the government coalition in Tbilisi local election

by | July 13, 2014
Tamar_Zhvania_Cropped

TBILISI, DFWatch--The government coalition’s candidate for Tbilisi mayor will get 72.7 percent of votes, according to  preliminary results from the Central Election Commission (CEC) in Georgia. Presenting the results Sunday night, CEC head Tamar Zhvania

Elections, News

Georgia holds second round of local elections

by | July 12, 2014
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TBILISI, DFWatch--Today, Georgia holds the second round of the local election in eight cities and 13 municipalities. According to the Central Election Commission (CEC), there are 1,715,514 voters for the second round, who will vote in 28 electoral districts comprising

Elections, News

Mayor candidates promising Tbilisians better times

by | July 4, 2014
davit_narmania_campaigning_July2014_Crop

TBILISI, DFWatch--One week before the run-off election for Tbilisi mayor, candidates are showering the electorate with promises, though the major issue in the campaign, whether to have direct debates between candidates, is still undecided. The government

Elections, News

Second round of Georgia’s local election slated for July 12

by | July 4, 2014
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TBILISI, DFWatch--The second round of Georgia’s local election will be held on next Saturday, July 12, according to the Central Election Commission (CEC). CEC made its decision after a session which ended late Thursday night. The first round of the local

Elections, News

Repeat elections held in Georgia

by | June 30, 2014
DSC_0184_local_election_2014_Cropped

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia conducted repeat elections at fourteen precincts on Sunday. The government coalition won in eight precincts, while the National Movement won at two precincts. Other parties’ candidates and independents won in the rest of the precincts.

Elections, News

Georgia repeat elections will be on June 29

by | June 20, 2014
election_day_tbilisi_2014_Cropped

TBILISI, DFWatch--Repeat elections will be held June 29 at seven precincts because results there were canceled, Georgia's Central Election Commission (CEC) announced. Among the precincts which will hold another first round in the local elections two are in Marneuli,

Elections, News

Results canceled at two precincts after video shows fraud

by | June 19, 2014
voting_IPN_Cropped

TBILISI, DFWatch--Election results at two Georgian precincts were canceled Tuesday, as a result of a controversial video published by the National Movement party, which lost the local election in that area. The video is made by the organization Free Zone, which

Elections, News

Election update after 98% of votes have been counted

by | June 17, 2014
bidzina_ivanishvili_voting_Cropped

TBILISI, DFWatch--The government coalition had a strong showing in the local election, though not as strong as in the previous two national elections. In the capital Tbilisi, the coalition’s candidate for mayor, Davit Narmania, received 46.12 percent,

Elections, News

Celebratory mood after Georgia’s local election

by | June 16, 2014
Georgian_Dream_celebrates_01_Cropped

TBILISI, DFWatch--Both the ruling Georgian Dream coalition and the National Movement celebrated the results of exit polls from Sunday’s local election. Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili congratulated candidate for Tbilisi mayor Davit Narmania on his victory,

Elections, News

Footballer-minister Kaladze accused of election violation

by | June 15, 2014
kakhi_kaladze_Cropped

TBILISI, DFWatch--A government spokesperson in Georgia defended himself Sunday against criticism from an opposition politician for standing in front of a political banner during a press conference on election day. Energy Minister and Vice Prime Minister Kakhi Kaladze

Elections, News

What you need to know about Georgia’s local election

by | June 15, 2014
DSC_0177_local_election_2014_Cropped

TBILISI, DFWatch--Sunday's election in Georgia marks a significant expansion of local democracy in the country. Voters are electing twelve new mayors, 59 gamgebelis, or heads of municipalities, and about 2,500 members of 71 local councils. 16,190 registered

Elections, News

Voting goes smoothly in Georgia’s local election

by | June 15, 2014
DSC_0148_local_election_2014_Cropped

TBILISI, DFWatch-Voting went smoothly Sunday in Georgia’s local election. 517,123 people had voted by noon, according to the Central Election Commission (CEC). This is 16 percent of registered voters. ISFED said 98.7% of precincts were ready to receive voters

Elections, News

561 foreign observers for Georgia’s local election

by | June 14, 2014
Tamar_Zhvania_Cropped

TBILISI, DFWatch--There will be 32 international and 59 Georgian organizations observing the local election on Sunday, according to the Central Election Commission (CEC). The CEC said the number of representatives of Georgian organizations

Elections, News

Government’s candidate in Marneuli confirms withdrawal

by | June 14, 2014
Merab_Topchishvili2

TBILISI, DFWatch--A candidate for Georgia’s governing coalition in a town south of the capital has announced that he is withdrawing from tomorrow’s local election. The coalition earlier said he would withdraw. Merab Topchishvili was Georgian Dream’s candidate

Elections, News

Government coalition withdraws its candidate in Marneuli

by | June 13, 2014
Merab_Topchishvili_Cropped

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian Dream coalition on Thursday withdrew its candidate for gamgebeli in Marneuli in Sunday’s local election, explaining that it was necessary in order to avoid making it into a purely ethnic vote. The National Movement is running with an

Elections, News

National Movement under investigation for faking persecution

by | June 13, 2014
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TBILISI, DFWatch--Former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili’s party is under investigation for pretending to be victim of political persecution.  Justice Minister Thea Tsulukiani has asked the Prosecutor’s Office to investigate whether the National Movement

Elections, News

Audit Office wants to fine three political parties

by | June 11, 2014
chamber_of_control

TBILISI, DFWatch--The State Audit Office wants to fine the political parties Alliance of Georgia’s Patriots, Conservative Party and Georgia’s Way. The body which monitors the financial activity of political parties claims that Alliance of Georgia’s Patriots didn’t declare donations

Elections, News

Tbilisi court restores UNM’s candidate in Marneuli

by | June 10, 2014
bokeria_giga_Cropped

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi City Court on Tuesday restored a National Movement candidate’s right to run in the June 15 local election. Akmamed Imamkuliev was launched as the UNM’s candidate for gamgebeli in Marneuli, a town in southern Georgia. But June 5,

Elections, News

Mayor breaks into district election office, swears at official

by | June 6, 2014
gigi_ugulava_Cropped

TBILISI, DFWatch--Suspended Tbilisi Mayor Gigi Ugulava Thursday broke into a district election commission office in Marneuli and swore at the local official in charge. It’s the latest in a series of incidents involving the party, as Georgia gets closed to the local

Elections, News

Scuffle outside National Movement office in Rustavi

by | May 25, 2014
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TBILISI, DFWatch--A scuffle developed Saturday as supporters of the ruling Georgian Dream coalition demonstrated outside the National Movement’s party office in Rustavi, a city 20 km south of the capital. Mamuka Chikovani, the UNM candidate for Rustavi mayor,

Elections, News

Georgian Dream claims UNM created fake party office

by | May 13, 2014
georgian_dream_tskhaltubo_Crop

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two groups of Georgian Dream coalition activists clashed during a campaign event Monday in Tskhaltubo, a town in western Georgia. One faction of activists asked the government for help, claiming that the coalition has two headquarters in Tskhaltubo,

Elections, News

48% of Georgians will vote for the ruling coalition

by | May 9, 2014
davit_narmania_Cropped

TBILISI, DFWatch--48 percent of Georgians would vote for the Georgian Dream coalition if there were local elections tomorrow, a new polls shows. This the second part of a wider survey published by National Democratic Institute (NDI) on Thursday, contains the party

Elections, News

Georgia’s former ruling party loses its trademark ‘number 5′

by | May 7, 2014
unm_-_number_5_Cropped

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Central Election Commission has rejected the National Movement’s request to use the number 5 on the ballot-papers in the local elections in June. UNM, which is running alongside the Christian Conservative Party, said in a statement May 5 that

Elections, News

Georgia’s governing coalition launches local election campaign

by | April 28, 2014
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TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s ruling Georgian Dream coalition on Saturday launched its election campaign and presented candidates for mayors in 12 cities. The main event at Sports Palace in Tbilisi gathered up to 12,000 people and included MPs, government members,

Elections, News

Voter’s list shrinks ahead of local election in Georgia

by | April 22, 2014
by-election Nadzaladevi ii 2013-04-27

TBILISI, DFWatch--There are 3.49 million registered voters for Georgia’s June 15 local elections. This marks a gradual reduction in the Georgian electorate. In the presidential election in October 2013, 3.54 million people were eligible to vote, while a year before

Elections, News

PM announces ‘moratorium’ on prosecuting ex-officials

by | April 15, 2014
irakli_gharibashvili_Crop

TBILISI, DFWatch--The government in Georgia has introduced a 'moratorium' on prosecuting former officials from the National Movement party of Mikheil Saakashvili, out of fear that it may restrict democratic rights. Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili said

Elections, News

Georgia to hold local elections on June 15

by | April 14, 2014
Maya Panjikidze

TBILISI, DFWatch--The 2014 local elections in Georgia will be held on June 15. This is decided in a decree by President Giorgi Margvelashvili signed April 10. The decree has been sent to the government for approval and will come into force as soon as it is published

Elections, News

Georgia may limit questioning of politicians ahead of election

by | April 12, 2014
thea_tsulukiani_Crop

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia's Justice Minister Thea Tsulukiani wants guidelines for criminal investigations involving people running in the local election in June. Tsulukiani did not explain more specifically what kind of rules it will be beyond calling for 'recommendations'. She said

Elections, News

Georgia creates commission to handle election violations

by | April 7, 2014
thea_tsulukiani_Crop

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia has created an interagency commission to handle violations ahead of the local elections, slated for June. The commission will be led by Minister of Justice Thea Tsulukiani. Other members are the deputy interior minister, deputy foreign

Elections, News

Georgian PM wants 50% first past the post threshold

by | February 18, 2014
irakli_gharibashvili_02_-_2014-01-16

TBILISI, DFWatch--Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili proposes to raise the threshold for winning in the first round of local elections to 50 percent. Gharibashvili, who represents the Georgian Dream coalition, suggests having a 50 percent threshold also in mayoral

Elections, News

Georgia’s ruling coalition promises clean local election

by | February 16, 2014
dzidziguri-zviad

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian Dream coalition promises that there will not be fraud in the upcoming local elections, as the voters’ list is being checked by use of biometric data, which will prevent names from appearing two or more times. Georgian Dream, both the coalition and the party with the same

Elections, News

Georgian gov’t updating legislation ahead of local election

by | February 10, 2014
davit_usupashvili_2

TBILISI, DFWatch--In a week the government in Georgia will decide whether to follow recommendations and proposals made by the non-parliamentary opposition and non-governmental organizations about amendments to the Election Code. Speaker of Parliament Davit Usupashvili

Elections, News

Biometric voter’s list may not be used in Georgia’s local election

by | February 3, 2014
preparing_voting-papers_at_number_4_precinct_Tbilisi_2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--A biometric election list may not be ready for the upcoming local elections in Georgia, which will be held in June, 2014. Election lists have been subject to disputes for a long time, especially during the National Movement government, when there were claims that

Elections, News

Burjanadze fined USD 36 600 for campaign financing violation

by | January 18, 2014
chamber_of_control

TBILISI, DFWatch--The State Audit Office in Georgia has fined the party led by opposition figure Nino Burjanadze, Democratic Movement, 65 000 lari (USD 36 600) for not declaring its finances in the election campaign. The State Audit Office, previously known as

Elections, News

Georgia to hold local elections in June 2014

by | December 6, 2013
davit_berdzenishvili_IPN

TBILISI, DFWatch--The local elections in Georgia will be held in June 2014, instead of May, the parliamentary majority says. The last local elections were held on May 30, 2010. Davit Berdzenishvili from the Georgian Dream coalition said on Friday that the local

Elections, Elections '12-'13, News

Ivanishvili demoted Alasania to end speculation

by | January 24, 2013
bidzina ivanishvili - davos - 2013-01-24

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Georgia’s Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili says the reason he removed Defense Minister Irakli Alasania from his post as vice prime minister was to end speculation in Alasania's party about making him a candidate for president. The prime minister

Elections, Elections '12-'13, News

Alasania to focus on defense

by | January 23, 2013
irakli alasania - giorgi kikadze funeral 2013-01-05 IPN

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili has relieved Defense Minister Irakli Alasania of his additional responsibilities as vice prime minister. The press office of the PM says a decree was issued January 21 and that Ivanishvili will explain

Elections, Elections '12-'13, News

Alasania not a candidate for president

by | January 23, 2013
irakli alasania - giorgi kikadze funeral

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Defense Minister Irakli Alasania says the Georgian Dream coalition has had ‘an awkward discussion’ about selecting a candidate for the presidential election, but he doesn’t consider himself a candidate, as he feels responsibility for the post he

Elections, Elections '12-'13, News

Repeat elections give Georgian Dream the upper hand

by | October 15, 2012
repeat election - korpusi

TBILISI, DFWatch -- There were repeat elections at eleven precincts in three regions of Georgia on Sunday. According to the Central Election Commission (CEC), voter turnout at the time voting ended was 32.9 percent. The repeat election was conducted peacefully without

Elections, Elections '12-'13, News

Repeat elections in Georgia due to serious fraud

by | October 14, 2012
repeat elections 2012-10-14

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Eleven precincts in three districts in Georgia are holding repeat elections Sunday, because of grave irregularities which led to results of the October 1 parliamentary election being canceled. All eleven are what's called majoritarian or first-past-the-post

Elections, Elections '12-'13, News

More elections in Georgia following violations

by | October 12, 2012
specraz khashuri

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Several election districts in Georgia will have to vote again on October 14 because the results of the October 1 parliamentary election were annulled due to violations, according to the Central Election Commission (CEC). The commission decided on Wednesday

Elections, Elections '12-'13, News

Georgian Dream activists accused of violence

by | October 10, 2012
marneuli election commission incident 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The physical harassment and psychological pressure against the district election commissions is continuing. Activists from the Georgian Dream party, which won the parliamentary election last week, are now accused of harassing local authorities in Marneuli

Elections, Elections '12-'13, News

Counting completed, many complaints

by | October 5, 2012
eka azarashvili

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Four days after the election, the Central Election Commission (CEC) said the counting of votes had been completed and announced the final results. After collating votes from 3 766 district, preliminary results show the Georgian Dream coalition received

Elections, Elections '12-'13, News

Video shows armed attack on voting precinct

by | October 5, 2012
armed man at khashuri precinct 2012-10-01

TBILISI, DFWatch -- A video was publishedThursday showing a person wearing a mask breaking into one of the election precincts in Khashuri, a small town in eastern Georgia. On election day Monday, there were reports about special units breaking into several precincts

Elections, Elections '12-'13, News

Wave of demonstrations against election fraud

by | October 4, 2012
protest against district election commission in Zugdidi - 2012-10-04

TBILISI, DFWatch – Georgian Dream and others are protesting outside the election commission offices in nineteen one-past-the-post districts where the National Movement party is winning. According to the latest figures from the Central Election Commission, Georgian Dream

Elections, Elections '12-'13, News

Saakashvili lost in his favorite region

by | October 4, 2012
mikheil saakashvili - batumi

TBILISI, DFWatch -- President Mikheil Saakashvili's party lost the election in the Autonomous Republic of Adjara. This is his favorite region which he visits frequently. Georgian Dream coalition got 57.6 percent of the votes according to the most recent figures from the

Elections, Elections '12-'13, News

Clinton congratulates Georgian election winners

by | October 3, 2012
Hillary_Clinton_2012-06-05ii_IPN

TBILISI, DFWatch – The U.S. Secretary of State responded to Monday’s election in Georgia congratulating Georgians on their peaceful and active participation in the election. A statement published on the State Department website says the election was a historic day for

Elections, Elections '12-'13, News

Counting of votes almost completed

by | October 3, 2012
celebrating victory

TBILISI, DFWatch – The counting of votes is almost finished in Georgia and results show that the opposition leads with 55.1 percent, against the ruling National Movement with 40.1 percent of votes. The other parties seem to not overcome the 5 percent barrier for getting

Elections, Elections '12-'13, News

Most violations were not grave, ISFED found

by | October 3, 2012
ISFED

TBILISI, DFWatch – International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED) summed up events on Election Day and reported about violations. The organization had 300 observers at 63 election district from 73. ISFED found that the election process went mostly with

Elections, Elections '12-'13, News

Parallel vote counting confirms opposition win

by | October 2, 2012
isfed

TBILISI, DFWatch – A group carrying out parallel vote counting has estimated that Georgian Dream won by 54.6 to 40.7 percent over National Movement. International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED) published their results of parallel vote tabulation (PVT).

Elections, Elections '12-'13, News

Georgian election was competitive, OSCE finds

by | October 2, 2012
OSCE press conference 2012-10-02

TBILISI, DFWatch – OSCE says Georgia made an important step in consolidating the conduct of democratic elections, but there are still some key issues left needing to address. The organization has the largest contingent of election observers here, under its Office for

Elections, Elections '12-'13, News

Call for results to be annulled

by | October 2, 2012
cesko zurab kharatishvili

TBILISI, DFWatch – The election result from several precincts in three districts of Georgia may be annulled, says the head of Central Election Commission (CEC). Due to tension at several precincts in Khashuri that were stormed by special police units yesterday,

Elections, Elections '12-'13, News

Oppositon victory in Georgia election

by | October 2, 2012
voters waiting

TBILISI, DFWatch – Official results from the Central Election Commission at 06:20 am local time showed that the opposition Georgian Dream was leading with 54.61 percent ahead of the ruling National Movement party with 40.44 percent. Counting is still ongoing. These results

Elections, Elections '12-'13, News

Police storm election precincts in Georgia

by | October 2, 2012
specraz khashuri

TBILISI, DFWatch – Special police forces stormed several election precincts in Georgia, seized the ballot box and rewrote the protocol, in order to prevent an opposition victory. Special units of the police have entered several election precincts in Khashuri, a small

Elections, Elections '12-'13, News

Young lawyers found violations

by | October 2, 2012
tamar chugoshvili

TBILISI, DFWatch – Georgian Young Lawyer's Association discovered many violations during the election October 1. At a press conference 21:00 GYLA detailed their findings. The organization has information that near two election precincts special forces are mobilized.

Elections, Elections '12-'13, News

Opposition takes all seats from Tbilisi

by | October 1, 2012
ballot_box-155x130

TBILISI, DFWatch – According to Maestro TV's exit poll, the opposition Georgian Dream coalition is set to win also in districts with the majoritarian (first-past-the-post) system in the capital: Mtatsimnda, Tbilisi – National movement candidate has 23 percent; Georgian

Elections, Elections '12-'13, News

Violations continued during election day

by | October 1, 2012
voters in queue

TBILISI, DFWatch – Another series of violations are regularly reported through local non-government organizations, media outlets and social networks from all over the country in Monday's parliamentary elections. The movement Multinational Georgia reports about twenty

Elections, Elections '12-'13, News

Georgian leader concedes partial defeat

by | October 1, 2012
mikheil saakashvili

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili concedes that his National Movement party has been defeated in the parliamentary election in districts with the proportional system, but won in districts with majoritarian candidates. Saakashvili thanked people

Elections, Elections '12-'13, News

Opposition predicted to win Georgian election

by | October 1, 2012
bidzina ivanishvili - at voting precinct 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – All the exit polls published after voting ended show that the opposition has won the election in Georgia. Also the pro-government TV channels show Georgian Dream winning. Rustavi 2's exit poll show the following: Georgian Dream 51 percent, National

Elections, Elections '12-'13, News

Ivanishvili has not voted

by | October 1, 2012
bidzina ivanishvili - eka khvedelidze 2012-10-01

TBILISI, DFWatch – The leader of Georgia's opposition coalition has not voted in Monday's parliamentary election. Bidzina Ivanishvili, leader of Georgian Dream, says he refuses to use his new constitutional right to vote, thereby adhering to a statement he made

Elections, Elections '12-'13, News

Reports of violations

by | October 1, 2012
queue of voters 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Local non-governmental organizations are reporting about different kinds of violations in Monday's election. Transparency International Georgia (TI) reports that one of the main problems is that there are not enough ballot-papers and envelopes in

Elections, Elections '12-'13, News

Historic Georgian election underway

by | October 1, 2012
voters tbilisi 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – In Georgia the most important election in recent history is underway. According to the Central Election Commission, there was a 25.5 voter turnout by 12:00. There have already been reports of violations. Many see the parliamentary election as a test

Elections, Elections '12-'13, News

Ten month old’s tragic death seen as political

by | October 1, 2012
Maia_Panjikidze

TBILISI, DFWatch – The kidnapping and killing of a 10 months old girl from an opposition activists' family has pushed a strained electoral atmosphere towards the boiling point. A ten-month old infant was today found dead in a pitcher full of water after declared

Elections, Elections '12-'13, News

61 000 local observers to follow election

by | October 1, 2012
cesko_CEC

TBILISI, DFWatch – An unprecedented 61 000 local observers will follow tomorrow's parliamentary election, head of the Central Election Commission (CEC) says. There are more than 33 000 representatives of election subjects and representatives of political parties in

Elections, News

Ivanishvili confident ahead of election

by | September 30, 2012
bidzina ivanishvili

TBILISI, DFWatch – The leader of the largest opposition coalition says there will be set a new precedent in Georgia’s recent history, when the government is changed through election. Bidzina Ivanishvili appeared confident in front media after meeting

Elections, News

Patriarch Ilia II hopes for a fair election

by | September 30, 2012
ilia patriarch

TBILISI, DFWatch – The Georgian patriarch on Sunday stated that he expects Monday’s election to be without fraud and that people will vote for who they want. Numerous polls have shown Patriarch Illia II to be the most trusted person in Georgia, scoring higher than

Elections, News

Opposition’s last mass rally ahead of important vote

by | September 29, 2012
bidzina ivanishvili freedom square 2012-09-29

TBILISI, DFWatch – The Georgian Dream coalition which is challenging President Saakashvili's power in Monday's parliamentary election, mobilized over a hundred thousand supporters in the center of Tbilisi Saturday. The coalition also held a rally in the country's

Elections, News

Georgian leader holds ‘most grandiose event ever’

by | September 29, 2012
mikheil saakashvili 2012-09-28

TBILISI, DFWatch - The party currently in power in Georgia Friday organized a rally counting thousands at the national football stadium in Tbilisi. Majoritarian candidates and other members of the United National Movement party, as well as government officials, held

Elections, News

Court rejects appeal against photo ban

by | September 28, 2012
cesko_CEC

TBILISI, DFWatch – A court in Georgia has ruled that the Central Election Commission's decision to establish tight regulations for media on Election Day are legal. The rules in practice make it impossible to take photos and videos at election precincts. Under the current

Elections, News

CEC introduces de facto photo ban at precincts

by | September 25, 2012
cesko_CEC

TBILISI, DFWatch – Georgia’s Central Election Commission (CEC) has established many prohibitions on the use of photographic equipment at election precincts, which in fact restricts and makes it impossible to take photos on Election Day. Use of photos may document

Elections, News

Emigrants return to Georgia to defend democracy

by | September 18, 2012
emigrants

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgian emigrants Monday returned to their homeland to protest the restriction of their right to vote. A number of Georgian emigrants today arrived in Batumi, a port city on the Black Sea coast, and held a protest rally in front of a public

Elections, News

Ivanishvili denies rumours of Brussels meeting

by | September 15, 2012
Bidzina_Ivanishvili

TBILISI, DFWatch – The largest opposition bloc in Georgia refuses to sign a code of conduct signed by other political parties, because signing it would force it to recognize the election results if the international community does so. Friday Georgian media reported that

Elections, News

CoE election observers visit Georgia

by | September 11, 2012
council_of_europe_logo11

TBILISI, DFWatch - Representatives of the Council of Europe's observer mission will arrive in Georgia next week in order to get familiar with the situation before the upcoming parliamentary elections on October 1. Nino Kalandadze, Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister, said

Elections, News

Opposition claims government wants to falsify election

by | September 6, 2012
zakaria_kutsnashvili

TBILISI, DFWatch – The opposition Georgian Dream party accuses government of attempting to legally falsify the parliamentary election. One of the coalition's lawyers Zakaria Kutsnashvili said Thursday that the amended election code regulates the issue of voters

Elections, News

Groups demand to change election date for emigrants

by | September 6, 2012
ballot_box-155x130

TBILISI, DFWatch – Democracy groups demand that the date of the parliamentary is brought forward for Georgians living abroad. The election is scheduled for October 1, but the groups it brought forward to September 29 or 30. The groups say in an application to the Central Election

Elections, News

NDI report highlights bias in application of law

by | September 4, 2012
NDI

TBILISI, DFWatch - The seizing of the bank accounts of an opposition figure and his partner, a former AC Milan player, has strengthened the perception of a selective and disproportionate application of the law, according to a new report by National Democratic Institute.

Elections, News

Georgian opposition hit by yet another fine

by | September 3, 2012
tina_khidasheli_IPN

TBILISI, DFWatch – The largest opposition coalition in Georgia may be fined again, after the State Audit Office has said certain individuals implemented financial operations in the name of Georgian Dream, which is prohibited by law. A statement by the State Audit

Elections, News

Activists of the ruling party are distributing products to citizens

by | September 2, 2012
transparency_international1

TBILISI, DFWatch - People dressed in National Movement t-shirts are handing out gifts to people Telavi, a town in eastern Georgia. They give them 10 kg of flour, 5 kg of pasta, a bottle of oil and 2 pieces of washing powder. According to the Informational Center of

Elections, News

Democracy groups in Georgia go on the offensive

by | August 30, 2012
platform

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgian National Platform, a coalition of local non-governmental organizations (NGOs), has released a statement regarding the period leading up to the parliamentary election. The National Platform was set up in October 2010 with a goal to support

Elections, News

Audit agency fines pro-government campaign group

by | August 28, 2012
Giga Nasaridze

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgia's State Audit Service wants to fine a non-governmental organization (NGO) which supports the government by 5 000 lari, or about USD 3 000. The State Audit Service, which has authority to track the financial relations of political parties and

Elections, News

Eleven parties and blocs agree to campaign financing

by | August 27, 2012
cesko_CEC

TBILISI, DFWatch - Eleven party lists and coalitions have agreed to election campaign financing. Central Election Commission informs that Freedom to Way of Zviad Gamsakhurdia, Georgian Dasi, Free Georgia, New Rights Party, Christian Democrats, People’s

Elections, News

Pro-democracy group: violations are harming the election process

by | August 25, 2012
Terry Benham

TBILISI, DFWatch – An American pro-democracy group says it's questionable whether there is rule of law in Georgia. The non-government organization (NGO) Committee for Open Democracy said at a press conference on Friday that the organization will have 20 observers

Elections, News

Saakahsvili to deal with problems in the election environment

by | August 24, 2012
manana_manjgaladze

TBILISI, DFWatch - A spokesperson for President Mikheil Saakahsvili says the president is thankful to a delegation from OSCE's Parliamentary Assembly which recently criticized conditions here before the election. The experts visited Georgia in order to the study the

Elections, News

Observers say Georgia’s election campaign has signs of Leninism

by | August 24, 2012
OSCE

TBILISI, DFWatch – A delegation from the OSCE's Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) which is in Georgia to observe the election says Georgia’s law enforcement bodies lack objectivity. The observers mainly criticize the State Audit Office, saying they act on the basis

Elections, News

ODIHR arrives in Georgia to observe the election

by | August 23, 2012
ODIHR

TBILISI, DFWatch – Observers from the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) are now in place in Tbilisi and have started monitoring events leading in preparation for the parliamentary election. ODIHR will publish its final report two months

Elections, News

CoE expresses concern about campaign finance measures

by | August 21, 2012
PACE

Two officials in the Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) in a new statement express concern about how Georgia's authorities are enforcing a set of new tough campaign finance rules. The regulations were ushered in late in 2011, after the appearance

Elections, News

Opposition bloc in Georgia signs code of conduct

by | August 21, 2012
maya_panjikidze

TBILISI, DFWatch – The largest opposition bloc in Georgia has decided to join the code of conduct for political parties. The rules were the brainchild of the campaign This Affects You Too, and the 17-point document outlines rules of conduct for political parties

Elections, News

Georgian Dream denied to use number 7 on the ballot

by | August 20, 2012
Maia_Panjikidze

TBILISI, DFWatch – The largest opposition bloc in Georgia was denied to register under the number seven on the ballot in the upcoming parliamentary election. Representatives of the Georgian Dream coalition say that they have asked the Central Election Commission

Elections, News

Political parties agree to rules of conduct

by | August 20, 2012
ballot_box

TBILISI, DFWatch - Political parties in Georgia are ready to agree with rules of conduct prepared by the campaign This Affects You Too intended to secure a peaceful, fair and competitive electoral environment before the October 1 parliamentary election. The ruling

Elections, News

OSCE tops arrive in Georgia to discuss October election

by | August 18, 2012
osce

TBILISI, DFWatch - Riccardo Migliori, President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, will arrive in Georgia for the election period, together with a delegation from the OSCE. According to parliament's press office, the delegation will arrive on August 19 and hold

Elections, News

Government commission warns against local transgressions

by | August 18, 2012
tamar_kintsurashvili

TBILISI, DFWatch – The inter-agency commission tasked with monitoring the election process calls on local governments not to place party symbols in their offices, as this is a violation of law. Tamar Kintsurashvili, a member of the commission, said on Monday

Elections, News

Georgian Dream names candidates to Adjarian council

by | August 16, 2012
bidzina_ivanishvili_ozurgeti

TBILISI, DFWatch - The opposition Georgian Dream coalition continues to name its majoritarian. This time the candidates for the High Council of the Autonomous Republic of Adjara. The nominees are mathematician Amiran Mamuladze in Khulo, doctor

Elections, News

Info9 cameraman beaten by local official

by | August 16, 2012
davit_chavleishvili

TBILISI, DFWatch - A cameraman for an opposition affiliated media outlet was today beaten by a local employee of Lanchkhuti town. His camera was broken in the incident. It happened while a journalist and a cameraman from info9 were standing outside the

Elections, News

Ivanishvili names Irakli Alasania as candidate for Samegrelo

by | August 15, 2012
irakli_alasania2

TBILISI, DFWatch - Bidzina Ivanishvili, the Georgian president’s main competitor, plans to win in the western Samegrelo region by having the country's former UN ambassador run there. The region borders on Russian controlled Abkhazia and is that part of the country where Mikheil Saakashvili’s government has the largest influence. Bidzina Ivanishvili named Irakli Alasania as majoritarian candidate in Zugdidi on Wednesday while meeting with the local population. Georgia has an election system with some districts using the proportional system and some the first-past-the-post system, called majoritarian candidates. 73 of the latter must be elected, and the deadline for naming candidates is September 1, one month before the election on October 1. Georgian Dream has already named 68 candidates. Those districts that are left are those that have a minority population. Forming the pillar of Saakashvili's power grip in Samegrelo is the Akhalaia family, which wields large influence in the area. One of the family is a former defense minister, who currently is interior minister – Bacho Akhalaia – while his brother, Data Akhalaia, today is defense minister, but until recently headed the feared secret ...

Elections, News

Georgian opposition asks world to react to election violations

by | August 15, 2012
irakli_alasania

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgian Dream, the strongest competitor to the party of Presidential Mikheil Saakashvili, calls on foreign diplomats and international organizations in Tbilisi to react 'correctly and adequately' regarding ongoing political processes in Georgia.

Elections, News

Plan for Georgian election observers still pending

by | August 13, 2012
ballot_box

TBILISI, DFWatch – It is still unknown when international observers will start monitoring the election in Georgia. Parliamentary elections are scheduled for October 1, but long-term observsers have not yet arrived in the country. Local rights groups have for months

Elections, News

3.6 million voters will decide election in Georgia

by | August 7, 2012
ballot_box

TBILISI, DFWatch - There are 3 621 256 voters in Georgia, according to Central Election Commission's (CEC) preliminary data, which was published today. According to the CEC, there are 84 election districts in the country. The majority of voters,155 502, are from

Elections, News

Who is to blame for election violence in Georgia?

by | August 6, 2012
bidzina_ivanishvili_2012-04-05

TBILISI, DFWatch – In Georgia, the government's main competitor, Georgian Dream, claims that they support fair and free elections and accuses the government of attempting to provoke civil confrontation. Georgian Dream released this statement on Monday as a response

Elections, News

U.N. Envoy criticizes Georgia for not respecting human rights

by | February 14, 2012
Maina_KIai

TBILISI, DFWatch - A United Nations envoy says the new party finance rules Georgia introduced in December are a violation of human rights. Special Rapporteur Maina Kiai says that ‘they at times use ambiguous language, are fuelling an overall climate of distrust, and

Elections, News

Georgia increases subsidy for political ads

by | January 30, 2012
pavle_kublashvili

TBILISI, DFWatch - The government in Georgia increases the state funding of political TV ads to create a more level playing field for this year’s election. But analysts say it’s not enough. An extra 2.2 million laris, or nearly 1.3 million US dollars, will be set aside in the state budget for subsidized political advertisements. The money will be distributed among twelve parties which garnered enough votes in the local elections in 2010. Parties in Georgia already receive a state subsidy for buying air time, but government says that increasing the amount will be an extra lever to create an equal electoral environment. But commentators claim the measure is not enough and if the prices of political advertisement aren’t regulated, releasing this money cannot bring the desired results. Pavle Kublashvili, head of the parliament judiciary committee, says that the 30Th article of the law about political union of the citizens will have a new twelfth article, where there will be written that during the electoral period the qualified subjects will be allocated extra money for TV commercials. Subsidizing the TV commercials of political parties ...

Elections, News

Opposition must return tycoon’s gifts

by | December 28, 2011

TBILISI, DFWatch - The political partners of the Georgian tycoon turned opposition leader will have to return the money they received from him. Otherwise, they must give it to the state. This is the consequence of a new bill approved by parliament on Wednesday at the third and last hearing. The final version of the bill states that 'political associations of citizens’ which have received funds in violation of its regulations and have not spent it by the moment of the enactment of the law, must return the money within three days. Otherwise, this sum must be handed over to the state. The law requires the signature of the president before it is effective. This means that the law applies to funds political parties received before the bill came into force. Pavle Kublashvili, chairman of Parliament's judicial committee, says that the law adopted by the parliament has no counteracting force. Authorities began the process to tighten the laws on campaign financing a few week ago. This was shortly after the richest Georgian and possible the richest man in the southern Caucasus region decided to ...

Elections, Media, News

Access to media crucial in 2012 election

by | December 28, 2011
P1010127

TBILISI, DFWatch - As a bundle of election related bills are up for final review in parliament, it became clear Tuesday that the ruling party is against a proposal prepared by media workers about how to conduct monitoring of media fairness during the election campaign. The proposal concerns changes to the Election Code and the law about the Political Unions of Citizens, two of the most important laws being updated. On several issues there was not agreement, and parts of the changes were therefore postponed to the third hearing later. Media monitoring is important, because the media in Georgia has been met with significant distrust from the population. The national TV networks are seen as fundamentally pro-government, and during past elections there have been gross violations of ethical standards, including a staged shooting on election day in May 2008, which appears to have been part of a PR exercise by president Mikheil Saakashvili to mobilize voters. In addition to direct violations, the coverage is largely perceived as biased and favoring the authorities, with national networks regularly providing the government with opportunities to hold spectacular ...

Elections, News

NGOs warn: unfair election system

by | December 28, 2011
P1000978

TBILISI, DFWatch - Tuesday Georgia's new election system should have been passed in parliament, but the package of bills was stopped in the last minute by a group of rights activists, who warned of potential problems. The groups are sounding the alarm that the new election system does not create a level playing field. Several experts and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) think the rules are not only unfair, but also a hindrance to a democratic development in Georgia. Whereas a fair election environment and a competitive environment with equal conditions are necessary for a democratic development of the country, they point to many shortcomings in the proposed rules, pointing particularly to changes in the Electoral Code and the law about Political Unions of Citizens. The crux of the matter as they see it is that there are new restrictions on party financing. These make it hard for private players to affect the process. But on the other hand, there is not a correspondingly strict regime imposed on how the public makes use of its resources in the election campaign. This could lead to a ...

Elections, News

Delay in electoral roll check

by | November 6, 2011

TBILISI, DFWatch - As less than a year is left until Georgians will go to the polls again, the government should have been moving ahead with a commission to go through the electoral roll, following a rush law amendment, but as of now the commission has not yet been set up. To have such a commission was part an agreement struck between the Government and part of the opposition last summer, which marked the start of a process to overhaul the whole election system in Georgia ahead of parliamentary and presidential elections in the next two years. A draft was sent to the Venice Commission for final review in the end of August, and the Council of Europe body will give its verdict on the plan December 16 or 17, according to Venice Commission chairman Tomas Markert. Much of the draft includes issues agreed with the part the opposition, including electoral system reform, party financing issues, how to handle disputes in connection with elections. But it also contained some issues which was not agreed with the opposition, such as governors' right to participate ...

Elections, News

Election reform is postponed

by | October 30, 2011

TBILISI, DFWatch - The election reform has been postponed for two months. It should have ended by the end of October, but is delayed until the end of December. The government explains the delay with the need to wait until the Venice Commission publishes its final conclusion. A few days ago, Venice Commission chairman Tomas Markert, stated that their conclusion will be published on December 16 or 17. After that, parliament will start reviewing the bill. When parliament therefore waits until the Commission has had its say on the overhauled election law, it comes following an agreement between the government and the opposition. Nevertheless, it’s unclear whether the Council of Europe body´s remarks will be heeded or not. “We the opposition representatives hoped and gave this a chance; but the government has a necessity to make a product on the bases of an agreement and not only on its own initiative. This necessity gives me hope that there is a chance that firstly, all twelve points of the agreement will be implemented and on the other hand, the government’s unilateral initiatives will ...

Elections, News

Opposition feels targeted by ban on loyalty gifts

by | October 18, 2011
Bribe

Georgia's ruling party has made it illegal for a political candidate to let him or herself be caught up in backroom deals with campaign contributors. The opposition thinks it's done to undermine their financing. While the laws against corruption here as in other countries applies to elected officials, Georgia has widened criminal liability to also include persons standing in elections, usually not a crime in most countries, although heavily criticized, unless there is a direct "quid pro quo". According to a new bill, requesting or obtaining money, securities, other property and property benefits and any undue advantage by an election candidate will be punishable. The new law is viewed with suspicion in opposition quarters. They fear that they will be cut off from private financing ahead of elections, a view shared by experts as well as a broad swathe of the population: In a debate on Maestro TV Monday night 98 % of callers voted that the new law is a way of targeting the opposition. “I don’t think it’s legal, because firstly candidate is not a public servant and secondly, various promises are ...

Elections, Legal reform, News

Groups boycott right-to-vote reform

by | October 15, 2011
100px-Ballot_box_current.svg

Three rights groups refuse to take part in a new system meant to guarantee every Georgian the right to vote, because they think the reform may make things worse. Parliament has just decided to establish a new system for going through the voters rolls and make sure that every citizen who has a right to vote is on the list, and no-one else. But three organizations think the new arrangement won't be good enough and will boycott its work. Every past election has been plagued by mistakes on the voter's roll which some think are made deliberate to manipulate the outcome. The new system was supposed to guarantee every citizen the right to vote, following criticism from the Council of Europe. But three rights group are skeptical.  Tamar Chugoshvili, chairman of Georgian Young Lawyer's Association (GYLA) doesn’t rule out that the voters' roll will be even more plagued by mistakes than it is today.   The groups think despite being plagued by problems, it would be better to keep the old system and have the new commission only as a supplement.   Under the new system, ...

Elections, Legal reform, News

CoE to Georgia: No more surprises, please

by | October 13, 2011
120px-Emblem-paragraph.svg

Two observers from the Council of Europe (CoE) have asked Georgia's ruling party to stop coming up with surprise changes in a draft law without going through the normal democratic procedures. At least according to one of the opposition politicians, two rapporteurs from the Monitoring Committee of the CoE's Parliamentary Assembly asked Georgia's ruling party to stick to what has been agreed with other politicial factions and not go it alone. "They think that if there is an attitude that we want to agree on the document, then there must not occur non-coordinated issues," Mamuka Katsitadze, a member of the New Rights party told DFWatch after a meeting with the rapporteurs. Georgia has been reworking its entire election system since 2010, after being criticized by the CoE for shortcomings. President Saakashvili's party entered into talks with the opposition, but most of them left the talks. After a deal was struck with two factions, the ruling party changed the draft without consulting anyone. The rapporteurs who were here on a working visit focused on the election system in general, but particularly the issue of how ...

Elections, Europe, Legal reform, News, Politics

Political Tbilisi skeptical to proposed new election system

by | October 3, 2011

Work to improve the Georgian election environment has ended as a draft has been sent off to the Council of Europe's Venice Commission for review and the government promises that parliament will not start its review until the results of the review are clear. It's hard to say what the Venice Commission's conclusions will be and how well the government has anticipated its remarks. Several non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have already criticized the amendments to the draft law. In their view, this project does not include many substantive changes to improve the election environment. On the contrary, some sections make the situation even worse than it is today; or the vagueness of some regulations make it impossible to understand the different formulations. Last year when talks began to change the election law, it was said that reforms were needed in several areas: More transparency in the election itself, the monitoring process, changes regarding the handling og voters's lists, the election system, use of administrative resources, election financing, election administration, election disputes and sanctions for violations of the election law. The draft sent to the ...

Elections, Europe, Legal reform, News

Ruling party’s latest election law maneuver a setback for democracy

by | October 2, 2011

Three non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are seriously concerned after the government's sudden changes to the draft for a new election law. Now that rights advocates have had time to look closer at the changes, which were worked out behind everyone's backs and revealed a week ago, their conclusion is that this is a disappointment to everyone who had been hoping for freer and fairer elections in Georgia. "The new changes to the Electoral Code do not improve the electoral process at all," Tamar Chugoshvili, chairman of Georgian Young Lawyer's Association, said as three NGOs presented their conclusions at Radisson Hotel Tbilisi on Friday. "On the contrary, the changes make the election process unclear," she said.   "The government won't be able to sell the changes as a part of the agreement with the opposition" --Mamuka Katsitadze, New Rights Party   Talks to change the election law started last year to accomodate critique from the Council of Europe's Venice Commission. But most opposition parties dropped out of the talks, and the government finally reached an agreement with only two opposition factions. Then the draft was sent off to ...

Elections, Legal reform, News, Politics

Government introduces surprise changes in new election law

by | September 23, 2011

After reaching a hard-fought agreement with several opposition parties, the ruling party has introduced significant changes in the draft for a new Georgian Election Code. According to lawmakers, the eleventh-hour changes were only made in order to ensure a democratic election environment in the country, however many opposition parties remain skeptical. Some of the changes in the draft were made due to recommendations tabled last year by the Venice Commission, the Council of Europe’s advisory body for legal and constitutional affairs. The latest draft is already sent to the Commission for another round of review. Work to reform the election process began in October 2010 with talks between a coalition of opposition parties and the ruling National Movement party, but in the end, the ruling party managed to strike an agreement only with two out of eight opposition groups.   "There is no point in discussing things in an editorial group if the government continues with such surprises"  -- Levan Vepkhvadze, Christian Democrat party   The agreement envisages nine basic changes which will come into force in time for the parliamentary elections in 2012. Eight of them were ...

Elections, News

Leak shows U.S. believed secret tapes ‘turned the tide’ for Saakashvili in 2008 election

by | September 9, 2011
Badri_Patarkatsishvili_001

The United States ambassador at the time thought that two recordings which were televised by Saakashvili's government right before the presidential election in January 2008, decided the final outcome in his favor. The two clandestinely acquired tapes purportedly proved that one the president's challengers  to the presidency had plans to commit a coup d'etat. The new cable released by WikiLeaks shows that just as the country geared up for presidential elections on January 5, the U.S. ambassador John Tefft thought there was considerable uncertainty about the outcome, until the government released the tapes.   "We believe [the secret tapes] have turned the tide in Saakashvili's favor, as most Georgians were shocked and revolted by an alleged plot..."   - U.S. Ambassador John Tefft, 04.01.2008   "The polls are unreliable and all over the map. Those commissioned by the opposition show former president Saakashvili not gaining enough to win a first round victory; those commissioned by the ruling party show just the opposite.  The most interesting aspect of all the polls is their common denominator:  a large number (some 25 percent) of undecided voters.  The key to ...

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