The Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association (GYLA) continues the monitoring of the election / political processes until the second round of the 2018 presidential election.
The organization is observing the process of summarizing the results within electoral administrations and conduct of election disputes, also whether there occurs any of the following in the course of the pre-election campaigns:
- Physical, verbal confrontation and coercion / threats;
- Alleged bribery of voters and abuse of administrative resources etc.
During this period, 3 facts of physical confrontation between supporters of electoral subjects took place in Marneuli, Kaspi and Akhalkalaki municipalities.
We believe that confrontation and violence are unacceptable and substantially damage the electoral environment. Consequently, the electoral subjects and their supporters must be preoccupied with conducting their pre-election campaigns in the environment free from violence and insulting statements and focus on political views and constructive debates in their campaigns.
In connection to the cases of violence, GYLA representatives talked with the victims as well as members of Georgian Dream staff. The facts of violence in Marneuli, Kaspi and Akhalkalaki municipalities were allegedly related to the political activities and views of the victims. That is why it is extremely important that a proper attention should be paid to this circumstance at the initial stage of the investigation and any possible political motives into the case identified. Any act that may be committed on political grounds, especially if it is violent and illegal act, must be investigated and persecuted by appropriate authorities.
It is noteworthy that on 1 November of this year, the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia (MIA) published information about incidents revealed during the voting day and the following days and the response thereof by the Ministry. It is a welcoming fact, but the MIA must conduct an unbiased and comprehensive investigation and pay attention to the alleged political motivation into the case at the initial stage of the investigation.
- An attack on a member of the election headquarters of the United Opposition “Power is in Unity”- According to the media report, on October 30, the members of the office of the United Opposition "Power is in Unity" were attacked. As a result of the assault, four persons were injured. The condition of one of them was serious and he was transferred for further medical examinations to Tbilisi. According to the statement of Head of Grigol Vashadze's headquarters, the attack was led by Arthur Mkoyan, brother of the “Georgian Dream” Majoritarian MP, Endzel Mkoyan, who assaulted the members of the United Opposition together with the armed men in Akhalkalaki. It was reported that another member of the United Opposition, Mikheil Aghabadyan had been also attacked by the MP Endzel Mkoyan with 20 people.
The fact of the confrontation has been confirmed by the local office of "Georgian Dream" in Akhalkalaki. According to Naira Iritsyan, a member of the Party, the confrontation had been triggered by the fact of tearing off Salome Zourabichvili's campaigning materials-posters on October 29. According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the investigation has been initiated pursuant to Article 239 (2) (3) of the Criminal Code of Georgia, which envisages hooliganism committed by a prior consent of a group.
- Beating of Aliosha Gulioglu, a supporter of the presidential candidate - On 29 October 2018, Aliosha Gulioglu, the supporter of the presidential candidate of the United Opposition, Grigol Vashadze, was beaten in the village of Khidiskure in Kaspi municipality. According to Nugzar Noniashvili, a representative of "National Movement" Kaspi office, Aliosha Gulioglu was beaten by members of the "Georgian Dream". Aliosha Gulioglu told the GYLA representatives that he was physically abused by Irazgula Bairamov’s brother and his nephew because he had voted for Grigol Vashadze in the elections;
- The physical confrontation between Georgian Dream and United Opposition representatives - On 29 October 2018, representatives of Georgian Dream and United Opposition physically confronted each other in Marneuli. The incident was persecuted and the situation eased by the police called to the scene of the incident. Fouad Kakhrammanov, head of the United Opposition’s Marneuli Office, told the GYLA representative that he had been physically assaulted by Anar Gadimov, Faik Ismailov and Ramov Karakmazli. According to the members of the opposition, Anar Gadimov and Ramov Karakmazli are members of the Marneuli municipal council and Faik Ismailov is an activist of Georgian Dream. Ramov Karakmazli in a conversation with the GYLA representative said that the conflict broke up after the representatives of the United National Movement placed the posters on the door of "Georgian Dream" office and the trees in the surrounding area. On the day following the Election Day, a conflict occurred in Chaikhana which resulted in calling of the police by the UNM representative. Ramov declares that Fouad was not beaten and no one came into even a slightest physical contact with him. According to the GYLA representative, the investigation has been launched pursuant to Article 126(1) and Article 151 (1) of the Criminal Code, which envisages liability for battery and threats.
GYLA continues to monitor the 2018 Presidential Elections and will inform the public about any alleged violations identified within the election process and actions taken by the State in that regard.