Assessment of October 8 2016 Parliamentary Elections
Transparency International Georgia (TI Georgia) deployed 400 observers to monitor October 8 Parliamentary elections. Our static observers covered 300 precincts throughout the country. In addition, 52 mobile groups were mobilized to observe the elections.
In general, polling process was held in a peaceful atmosphere, except Marneuli and Zugdidi cases. Majority of the polling stations were opened and closed on time. Voting and counting process was carried out without any significant deficiencies. Our observers detected up to 80 relatively serious, mostly procedural violations. Throughout the day, we filed 10 complaints.
Violence at the polling station and nearby
In Marneuli, precinct 36.22 district 48, around 17:00, supporters of different political parties mobilized near the polling station and raided it. Stealing of ballot box from the station was reported. The law enforcement agencies reacted on time and they managed to defuse the situation. Work of the police can be assessed positively.
In the village of Jikhashkari, (Zugdidi region) precinct 66.67 district 79 and 108, a group of people smashed ballot boxes and raided the polling station. Also, in Kutaisi, nearby the precinct 49.59 district 90, opponents physically assaulted each other. Law enforcement agencies have arrested one person, involved in Jikhashkari incident. Investigation is still going on for identifying other participants of the raid
Work of Election Administration
In general, election administration work can be assessed as satisfactory at three levels. Despite the fact that, counting process at many stations took a lot of time, CEC ensures that results are published in a timely manner. By this time, preliminary results are published according the 65% of the polling stations. The Central Elections Commission periodically holds briefings to inform the voters.
Significant amount of precincts were adapted for the needs of people with disabilities. Overall, in contrast with the positive scene the most problematic polling districts were the regions populated with ethnic minorities. Important examples of the poor qualification of commissions are: Sagarejo, Marneuli, Akhalkalaki and Ninotsminda. The lack of qualification gave the root to the other methodical violations throughout the country.
Violations detected by our observers:
Law enforcement agencies should investigate the facts of violence at Jikhashkari polling stations in time and arrest those involved in the raids;
It is necessary to raise the qualification of the administrative employees, special accent must be put on those election commissions that are mostly characterized with the lack of qualification during the elections;
Political parties must be more responsible and must not call upon their supporters to use violence.