TBILISI, DFWatch–International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED) has found that 1 877 persons have been dismissed by gamgeoba, a local executive authority in districts, for political reasons.

ISFED presented its third report about post-election monitoring, focusing on political processes and dismissals of employees of local executive and representative bodies; sakrebulos.

According to the report presented on Monday in Tbilisi Marriot Hotel, after the parliamentary elections in October, 2012, 26 heads of sakrebulos and 50 out of 73 gamgebelis (heads of district executive authorities) have left their positions. Out of these 50, 48 gamgebelis voluntarily resigned, while the remaining two were displaced by the sakrebulo, a legislative power in the disctict.

Irakli Melashvili, aide of the Prime Minister, said that dismissal of 1 877 persons from local governments, where up to 40 000 people are employed, is not a big number.

ISFED finds it suspicious that a large number of employees wrote their letter of resignation simultaneously. The organization argues that this is a symptom of pressure being exerted on them by the new ruling party.

“The changes began immediately after the 1 October election. The election was parliamentary and it should not have affected the situation in local authorities, but it did, and this means that the new ruling party has put pressure on the local authorities,” said Pavle Kublashvili, a member of the parliamentary minority.

ISFED concluded that the dismissals bear a clear sign of political pressure from the ruling Georgian Dream coalition.

Nino Lomjaria, head of ISFED, added that political background played an important role in firing other groups of citizens too. “The persons who were appointed to vacant positions were activists of new ruling party,” she said.

According to statistic over dismissals given in the report, these massive changes took place in the period between 1 October and 12 February.

“We think, that the process of changes has finished and other gamgebelis will stay in their positions,” Lomjaria says.

ISFED advises the new government to stop firing employees for political reasons and instead appoint new ones with competition.