Parliamentary Elections Summary - საერთაშორისო გამჭვირვალობა - საქართველო

Parliamentary Elections Summary

09 October, 2012

Transparency International Georgia sent a total of 420 local and 56 international observers to monitor the recent parliamentary elections. The international observers were representatives of Transparency International’s chapters in Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Portugal, Azerbaijan, and Armenia.

The organization’s stationary observers were sent to 301 electoral precincts, covering 63 of the 73 electoral districts. The polling stations to be observed were selected randomly. In addition to these stationary observers, the electoral process was also observed by 36 mobile groups. The mobile groups focused on various potentially problematic precincts, with a list of these drawn up on the basis of information provided by news outlets and political parties.

The Voting Process

Numerous minor irregularities were reported by our observers on the election day. More worryingly, several major irregularities and potential violations were also observed. In particular, these included:

  • Inking procedures. In many of the polling stations the devices for checking inking were not working properly, or else the indelible ink was faulty. In polling station no. 47 of the District of Kobuleti, 70 people cast votes without undergoing the inking procedure. Several polling stations in the District of Poti and in the districts of Chokhatauri and Ozurgeti also experienced problems related to the inking process.

  • Incorrectly placed signatures on voter lists. In numerous instances, people were not able to vote because another voter had signed their name in the wrong section of the voter list. This was a problem in several polling stations in Adjara, specifically in polling stations no. 3, 17, 23, 32, 82, and 16 of Batumi, in addition to several other polling stations.

  • Voting without an identity document. There were many cases where voters cast their votes without an ID card, or else they were not registered in the polling stations where they cast their votes. This problem was observed in polling station no. 19 of the District of Akhalkalaki as well as polling station no. 9 of the District of Kaspi.

  • Taking ballot papers out of the polling station. At several polling sites it was observed that voters took ballot papers out of the polling station. There are suspicions that this could have been done as part of the so-called ‘Armenian fan’, which if true would represent a serious irregularity. This was witnessed in polling stations no. 52 and 53 of the District of Saburtalo, as well as polling station no. 16 of the District of Mtatsminda.

  • Number of ballot papers. The majority of the polling stations that we covered had received fewer ballot papers and envelopes than the number of citizens in the voter list.

The Counting of Votes

After the polling stations were closed and the vote counting procedure began, some serious irregularities took place in the District of Khashuri. Specifically:

  1. Special security units entered several polling stations and changed the voting results on the summary protocols. In precincts no. 46 and 19, a special unit expelled all of the observers from the polling stations and subjected some of them to physical abuse. It was these modified protocols that were then submitted to the DEC. We also received information about similar incidents in Khashuri from the OSCE Observation Mission, which notified us that a special security unit had also entered polling stations no. 5 and 45.

  1. In polling station no. 36, after the PEC members emptied the ballot papers onto the table in order to count them, a member of the commission, Givi Mchedlidze, added additional ballot papers to those that had been taken from the ballot box.

The Election Administration

For the most part, the Central Election Commission and the DECs responded quickly to requests, and were helpful in assisting the observation mission where it was needed. However, it should be noted that the mission observed some irregularities on the part of the PECs:

  • At many polling stations, PEC members were unwilling to register complaints written by our observers (in particular, in polling station no. 48 in Chiatura). PEC members were sometimes aggressive towards our observers. In the morning, they attempted to prevent an observer from entering a polling station due to lateness, while later they tried to expel several observers from the polling stations they were monitoring. These incidents took place at polling station no. 48 in Chiatura; polling station no. 17 in the District of Signagi; polling station no. 49 of the District of Dusheti; and polling station no. 94 in the District of Gldani.

  • There were several cases where observers and representatives did not have badges at the polling stations and as a result the representatives had difficulty entering the polling stations to monitor proceedings (polling station no. 67 in the District of Gori; polling station no. 102 in the District of Zugdidi). However, it should be noted that in many polling stations (especially in the districts of Batumi, Gori, and Ozurgeti), representatives of the Georgian Dream coalition only did not possess badges because of the CEC’s failure to provide them in a timely manner.

  • In some polling stations, the official stamps were mixed up. This happened in several polling stations of Sachkhere, where the problem was mostly resolved; in polling stations no. 48 and 57 of Chiatura where the stamps of other polling stations were used, and despite a number of complaints on the part of the observers were not replaced; and in polling station no. 5 of the District of Signagi, where the stamps of the secretary and the registrar were mixed up.

The Results

According to the summary protocols received from the 301 precincts that we covered across the country, the proportional votes were distributed in the following way among the election subjects:

No. 5 - United National Movement – More Benefit to the People: 39.5% of the votes;

No. 41 - Bidzina Ivanishvili – Georgian Dream: 55.9% of the votes;

No. 10 - Giorgi Targamadze – Christian Democratic Union: 1.9% of the votes;

No. 38 - Shalva Natelashvili – Labor Party of Georgia: 1.3% of the votes.

It is possible to extrapolate these results to the entire country with a margin of error of about 5%.

So far, the observers of Transparency International Georgia have written 47 complaints, and have demanded the cancellation of the results of five precincts: polling station no. 17 of the District of Batumi; polling stations no. 36, 46, and 19 of the District of Khashuri; and polling station no. 5 of the District of Signagi.