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Interim report by Democratic Movement – Free Georgia
On behalf of the electoral subject ‘Democratic Movement – Free Georgia’, I would like to express our uttermost apprehension over the 21 October 2017 Municipal elections. I am afraid that our post-election evaluations are in line with preliminary reports of the ‘Council of Leaders’, one of the founding members of which is our electoral subject. Now that the election day is behind us, based on incoming protocols from electoral districts, we can proclaim with confidence that all three stages of 2017 Municipal elections were uncompetitive, unfair and undemocratic.

As evidence presented to you in our correspondence and previous meetings have highlighted, pre-electoral environment was plagued by unfair amendments to electoral code; mass utilisation of administrative resource; subordination of the electoral administration by the ruling party; unprecedented disparity in funding/donations; utilisation of undeclared ‘black money’ by the government, and mass harassment of oppositional subjects and its candidates.

The election day was beset by mass harassment of the electorate by the activists of the ruling party, beginning from the entrance, right until the end of the voting procedure: members of the ‘Georgian Dream were present at polling stations, harassing the staff and intimidating the electorate by registering those who had voted. This issue was a topic of discussion by all international and local observers. Furthermore, during the election day, several video footages appeared on Television and the Social Media, where members of the ruling party were caught bribing the electorate. Unsurprisingly all the aforementioned, and many more, was voiced by international observers on today’s press conference by ODIHR.

Towards the evening of the election day, it was becoming clear that district commission members were ignoring virtually all complaints submitted by oppositional electoral subjects and observers. Belated publication of preliminary results by the Central Electoral Commission gave further weight to our suspicions. After the closure of polling stations, representatives of our political bloc witnessed and reported hundreds of violations, for instance:

- Power outages occurred at polling stations #29; #30; #37; #39 in Rustavi, as well as #8 in Khashuri, due to which, process of summation was carried out with violations.

- Similarly, power outage was registered at polling stations #6; #10 and #15, during which, dozens of bulletins were stuffed into ballot boxes.

- Our representative was illegally denied access to the polling station #83 of Rustavi.

- At #83 polling station in Poti, chairperson of district electoral commission denied our representative his right to file a complaint over a flagrant violation of the electoral code.

- At polling station #18 in Samtredia, due to victory of our majoritarian candidate, representatives of the local government attempted to obstruct the polls. After our repeated calls to the police, order at the polling station was restored.

By the midnight, as summative protocols began to arrive at our headquarters, our teams began to analyse them and forwarded their reports to central office in Tbilisi.

We found several major abnormalities in summative protocols, akin to the 2016 Parliamentary elections. Those genuinely interested in scrutinising the democratic nature of these elections will find the following observations rather disturbing:

1. Rigging of election in regions with high proportion of ethnic minorities: Dozens of polling stations in ethnic minority regions saw the ruling party receiving up to 100% of the vote. For instance, at polling station #44 in Dmanisi, out of 142 proportional votes, ‘Georgian Dream’ received 138. Similarly, at polling station #33 in Dmanisi, the ruling party received 186 proportional votes out of 202. We observe the same picture at most of the polling stations in such regions.

2. Inaccurate balance due to crude rigging: On some summative protocols, voter participation is lower than the number of votes received by the Georgian Dream. For instance, at polling station #5 in Isani, voter participation is 76, whereas the ‘Georgian Dream’ received there 292 votes.

3. Issues with balancing of summative protocols: Evidence of rigging has occurred in majority of other regions as well. For instance – At polling station #8 in Akhalkalaki (which is traditionally our stronghold), our bloc received 0 votes, whereas the satellite party of the government ‘Patriots’ Alliance’ received 47 votes. At the polling station #10, which is next to it, we received 125 votes, with ‘Patriot’s Alliance’ receiving 41 votes. At polling station #12, our party got 20 votes, whereas theirs received 40 votes. At polling station #46, which is also nearby, we received 0 votes against 123 of the ‘Patriots’ Alliance’. At polling station #48, we were given 0 votes against 14 of ‘Patriots’ Alliance’. This pattern which repeats itself all across the country demonstrates high probability of rigging of these electoral districts, consequent issues with balancing of summative protocols, and represents a crude solution to the problem.

4. Stolen votes: In several electoral regions across the country, we have an objective suspicion that our votes were stolen, for instance - At polling station #34 in Tkibuli, we received 41 votes. At #19 polling station, which is nearby, our bloc received only 2 votes.

5. Mass bribery and/or intimidation of our commission members: There are dozens of polling stations where we received 0 votes. Considering that we had two representatives on each polling station and a majoritarian candidate in every city, absence of a single vote is unintelligible without intimidation or bribery (For instance, Akhalkalaki polling station #46 and many more).

6. Covert and illegal collusion of the ‘Georgian Dream’ and ‘European Georgia’: On numerous occasions, our political bloc, as well as the ‘Council of Leaders’ have repeatedly warned of a collusion between the ruling party, and an offshoot of the ‘United National Movement’ – ‘European Georgia’. We, alongside the rest of the opposition have repeatedly stated that oligarch Ivanishvili is trying to ‘appoint’ his preferred opposition. Summative protocols from his hometown Sachkhere, where his authority is the highest, is the best place to seek this pattern:
a. In all summative protocols from Sachkhere, ‘Georgian Dream’ leads (which is understandable), but the ‘European Georgia’ is a runner-up virtually in all instances.

b. The region has largest amounts of void bulletins of the ‘United National Movement’.

c. ‘European Georgia’ has no special connections to the electoral region.

The case of Chiatura: Even on two polling stations (#43 and #44), where the family of Nino Burjanadze lives, and her traditional stronghold, ‘Georgian Dream’ is followed by ‘European Georgia’ as runners-up.

Similarly, the fact that there are several polling stations where votes were given exclusively either to the ‘Georgian Dream’, or the ‘European Georgia’, gives further weigh to our argument. (see Krtsanisi District, polling station #29).

If you need further information regarding the aforementioned, we are ready to supply you promptly with all the necessary documents and summative protocols.

We appeal to international and local monitoring organisations to take into consideration the aforementioned information and include it in their final reports evaluating the 21 October 2017 municipal elections.
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