TBILISI, DFWatch – The Georgian government calls for political parties to commit to not use or incite violence during this year’s election process.
The declaration submitted for parties to sign commits them to not use violence, nor call for violence or voice hate speech towards minorities, nore bribe voters during the election process.
It further says that parties are prepared to conduct an election campaign that is focused on discussing subjects and that they will act on the basis of recommendations by international organizations.
The government’s inter-agency commission was set up in order to monitor usage of administrative resources in the election period. Chair of the commission is Giga Bokeria, Secretary of Georgia’s National Security Council. Non-governmental organizations and representatives of political parties have also been attending the commission’s sessions, after it started functioning in the beginning of June.
Last session was held on Saturday, and the main topic of discussion was the recent event in Karaleti. After the meeting, Pavle Kublashvili, who represents the parliamentary majority, explained that the goal of the new declaration is to define the main issues of the election campaign, which is for all political subjects to reject violence and bribery, and follow the appropriate regulations of the law.
“I think this will be very important document, which should receive the support of all political parties and the goal of the document is to conduct free and fair elections,” he said, and expressed hope that political parties will respond and sign the document.
At the end of the day, the text of the document was published.
The four points of the document says the following:
1. Refusing violence during the election process, to interrupt other parties while holding meetings and rallies, refusing aggression while meeting with voters, refusing to call for violence and use of hate speech towards minorities and expressing readiness to conduct election campaign oriented towards subject discussions.
2. Refuse to bribe voters;
3. Expressing readiness to follow the recommendations of the Central Election Commission, NGOs and the Inter-Agency commission regarding use of administrative resources;
4. Taking responsibility to recognize summed results of CEC and international observer organizations.
The National Democratic Party expressed readiness to sign the declaration even before the text had been published and before anyone knew what conditions would be set. This party is very low on the ratings and is considered by some a “satellite party” to the government.
The New Rightists Party and the Christian Democrats, which have much higher ratings, and have constructive relations with the government, consider the non-use of violence declaration a PR move and doubt that it will lead to any tangible results.
“The document has political meaning and also will really have a PR function. If this issue lies this way and it is necessary to create such documents to freely hold elections, then OK, let’s do it. But I really doubt that it will have results. But society is polarized today, and I don’t want that us, the New Rightists Party to create any additional problems in this regards,” said Mamuka Katsitadze, one of the party’s leaders.
Levan Vepkhvadze, spokesperson for the Christian Democrats, says that signing this document creates certain obligations for politicians to only use debates as their political instruments, just words — not bricks and weapon.
“Of course it will be good to adopt such a document, but the other issue will be who will follow it and who will not.”
Both parties are going to sign the document. Yet it is unknown what decision Georgian Dream will make.
“Let the National Movement and their government prove that they honestly want to conduct elections peacefully and not create confrontation and we promise to make their desires come true,” said Zakari Kutsnashvili, who represents Georgian Dream. He adds that Georgian Dream will decide whether to join the non-use of violance declaration after making itself familiar with the document.