Georgia

ISFED Statements on Abuse of Administrative Resources

After publishing results of the first round of the October 28, 2018 presidential election, the government of Georgia and the local authorities started extensively making promises about different social and infrastructural projects. The Prime Minister of Georgia and other members of the government unveiled different projects that provide material benefits for specific social groups.

Promises about the new projects that were not known before the first round of the election leaves an impression that these initiatives are related to the outcome of the first round and their aim is to garner support of voters in the runoff in favor of the presidential candidate endorsed by the ruling party. It seems that the ruling party – the Georgian Dream, which has access to all types of administrative resources is attempting to increase chances of winning for the presidential candidate supported by the Georgian Dream, by using financial and executive administrative resources. Against this background, registration of Salome Zourabichvili as an independent candidate has become only formalistic and the line between the ruling party and Zourabichvili’s electoral campaign is essentially non-existent.

After results of the first round of the presidential election were published, the following programs were announced:

1. Salaries of military servicepersons, military police officers and border security personnel will be increased.

2. Salaries of school principals, teachers and administrative personnel will be increased.

3. Teachers that improve their status will receive increased supplemental wage.

4. Socially vulnerable youth under the age of 16 and families with children will receive five times more assistance.

5. Socially vulnerable persons will keep their benefits if they find a job.

6. For 2020, responsibilities undertaken before contracted military personnel under the 2007 agreement will be fulfilled.

7. Miners in Tkibuli will continue to receive their salaries as usual.

8. Nine residential buildings will be built for IDPs in Tskaltubo and Zugdidi.

9. In Telavi, apartments that are owned by the Ministry of Economy will be transferred into the legal ownership of local population.

10. Up to 350 people in Rustavi will become owners of apartments where they live.

11. Gasification of the entire Samegrelo will be completed in two years.

Intensity of new initiatives during the period between the first and the second round of the election leaves an impression that these projects initiated by the government of Georgia and some local self-government entities instead of implementing public policy priorities aim to garner more votes and give the candidate endorsed by the ruling party an advantage over other candidates.

Abuse of administrative resources is strictly denounced by international legal norms. All international or regional instruments related to elections suggest that the ruling party should not use the State budget or other resources in order to gain advantage in the election.

In light of the foregoing, ISFED urges the Georgian government and local self-governments to refrain from using budget resources in a manner that can be viewed as abuse of administrative resources for electoral purposes and to focus all of their efforts on long-term and sustainable development priorities of the State.

See the full statement here:

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