TBILISI, DFWatch – Georgia’s National Enforcement Bureau postponed the enforcement of fines that have been issued to political parties which are members of the opposition Georgian Dream coalition.

June 27, seven political subjects in the coalition were were fined with 2 856 717 06 lari. The reason was a report prepared by the State Audit Office according to which those parties violated the law about political union of citizens and used legal persons for their own election goals.

But lawyers for the parties considered the fine illegal and refused to pay. The National Enforcement Bureau started the enforcement process and withdrew 122 000 lari. The agency claims no-one has seized accounts of those political parties. Spokespersons for the political party, however, say their accounts have been seized, and that this almost completely restricts them from carrying out their election campaign normally.

“Nevertheless, following the recommendation of the Inter Agency Task Force for Free and Fair Elections and consultations with the State Audit Office of Georgia, which is the creditor in the case, the NBE has decided to postpone the enforcement of Tbilisi Court’s decision,” the bureau’s statement says. “The NBE will provide information to the public about the next steps in the enforcement of these fines.”

A few days ago, the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) in a short statement expressed concern about seized accounts of Georgian Dream parties.

“We therefore call upon the Georgian authorities to demonstrate maximum restraint and to ensure that all parties, including the Georgian Dream Coalition, can participate fully in the electoral campaign,” PACE’s statement reads.

The government responded immediately by calling the PACE representatives Bidzina Ivanishvili’s lobbyists.

The government’s statement says that bank accounts belonging to Georgian Dream coalition parties have not been seized, but a spokesperson for the coalition at a briefing presented documents that proves the seizure of accounts.

Among the political subjects that have been fined are the Republican Party, Georgian Dream Democratic Georgia, National Forum, Free Democrats, the Conservative Party, Industry will Save Georgia and Public Movement Georgian Dream.