Statement regarding the UNM’s leaving the Interagency Commission - საერთაშორისო გამჭვირვალობა - საქართველო
GEO

Statement regarding the UNM’s leaving the Interagency Commission

12 October, 2013

We would like to respond to the developments that took place at the 11 October 2013 session of the Interagency Commission for Free and Fair Elections and after which the United National Movement (UNM) decided to leave the Commission. As participants and eyewitnesses of the session, we can confirm that the representative of the UNM and the Chairperson of the Commission, in fact, had an argument, during which MP Tinatin Bokuchava told the Chairperson that the ruling party wanted to destroy the UNM, to which the Minister of Justice, Thea Tsulukiani, replied that they had already successfully managed to do so.

Unfortunately, such an unconstructive dialogue was not a novelty at the sessions of the Commission and similar incidents have taken place before, not only in relation to the UNM but also to other individuals attending the sessions who presented information about violations in the pre-election period.  

We would like to unequivocally point out that the format of the Interagency Commission for Free and Fair Elections is very important in the run-up to the elections because political parties and observer organizations have an opportunity to raise important issues related to the pre-election period directly before the Commission and to inform Commission members of alleged violations. On the basis of this information, the Commission gives recommendations whose implementation is important for holding free elections in the country.

The Commission under the Ministry of Justice has, in fact, elaborated several important recommendations; in several cases, the Commission examined issues in detail and individuals attending the sessions were given enough time to state their positions, to which we give an unequivocally positive assessment. Unfortunately, however, instead of constructively examining problematic issues that emerged in the pre-election period, the sessions of the Commission often became a place of political debates. We believe that the unconstructive environment that obtained at the sessions of the Interagency Commission damages the effectiveness of the Commission’s work and undermines trust in its activity.   

On the one hand, we understand that it is difficult to consider certain issues at the sessions of the Interagency Commission – which involve members of political parties – without the political context, although the Minister of Justice, as the Chairperson of the Commission, is also obliged to facilitate the sessions, due to which we believe that she is under more obligation to remain patient.  

At a time when only two weeks remain before the presidential elections and the election campaign has entered an active phase, it is important that the parties get back to the normal working regime, for which the conflict must be resolved immediately. We believe that the UNM should return to the Commission, while the Chairperson of the Interagency Commission should ensure that these meetings are held in a constructive environment.  

 

Transparency International Georgia  

International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED)

Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association

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