June 21, 2013 developments in the Samtredia Sakrebulo - საერთაშორისო გამჭვირვალობა - საქართველო

June 21, 2013 developments in the Samtredia Sakrebulo

28 June, 2013

On June 21, the Samtredia Municipality Sakrebulo has elected Emzar Shubladze as Chairman with 20 votes against 5. Transparency International Georgia observed this process. Snap elections became necessary after the Chairman of the Sakrebulo Emzar Jvarsheishvili resigned. Emzar Shubladze is a member of the United National Movement and the defeated the majoritarian MP candidate during the parliamentary elections held on April 27.

The following events have preceded the election of the Sakrebulo Chairman:

According to the allegations disseminated by the United National Movement, various types of pressure were exercised against the Sakrebulo deputies representing the National Movement, owing to which these members of the Sakrebulo have stayed overnight in the Sakrebulo building.

2 candidates - Emzar Shubladze (United National Movement) and Imedo Gogava (Georgian Dream) - were nominated to the office of the Sakrebulo Chair. Member of the Sakrebulo Koba Dzidziguri suggested to postpone the sitting. According to him, as the majority of Sakrebulo members have spent the night in the Sakrebulo building, they were under pressure and therefore their decision could not have been unbiased.

Numerous supporters of the Georgian Dream were present in the Sakrebulo sitting hall (approximately 80-100 sq.m), along with the law-enforcers and media representatives. Persons gathered in the hall prevented the Chairman of the sitting - Amiran Ninua from holding the session. They were expressing their position by whistling and clapping. On several occasions the attempts of physical confrontation have occurred. Attendees were especially irritated by the presence of the member of parliamentary minority Gia Tevdoradze and the deputies of the Kutaisi Sakrebulo in the sitting hall. In about 50 minutes from opening the session, the Chairman has announced the break and the deputies have retired to the room of the Sakrebulo Chair for deliberation.

Having renewed the sitting, the Chairman has informed the audience that both candidates had agreed to participate in voting and the respective ballots were prepared. The Legal Affairs Commission of the Sakrebulo was assigned to hold secret voting. Prior to voting, candidates have addressed the audience with a speech. However, due to the resistance of gathered citizens, a ballot box could not be sealed and the sitting was once again suspended.

Sakrebulo members, media and NGO representatives have stayed in the room of the Sakrebulo Chair for about 40 minutes. Gia Tevdoradze has suggested to hold the sitting in the room of the Sakrebulo Chair, as the citizens did not intend to free the hall.

Following the request of the law-enforcers, MP Otar Chrdileli and Imedo Gogava himself, the hall was freed and the Sakrebulo members have entered the hall through the corridor built by law-enforcers.

Finally the Sakrebulo members have managed to vote, as a result of which Emzar Shubladze was elected the Sakrebulo Chairman with 20 votes against 5. Representatives of NGOs (Transparency International Georgia, GYLA and NDI), the Public Defender's Office and media have observed the voting process.

Verbal confrontation has survived the vote, and according to a part of citizens, they do not recognize the election results.

Actions of law-enforcers are worth noting throughout the entire Sakrebulo sitting, who have tried their best to observe order as in the hall, as well as in the corridors and the adjacent territory to the building.

Author: Transparency International Georgia