The International Republican Institute (IRI), a US-based not-for-profit organization, released its final report on March 11th on the results of the Technical Election Assessment Mission (TEAM) during the general election in Georgia on October 31, 2020, with recommendations on how to improve “Future electoral processes. “

Some important recommendations that “could make a positive contribution to improving electoral integrity in the short and long term” relate to:

  • Revision of the selection process for party-appointed members in election commissions for a more balanced representation of parliamentary parties;
  • Fast and transparent recounts in areas where the validity of the results is questioned; Revision of the “controversial” procedure for amending summary protocols;
  • Developing stricter rules for impartial citizen monitors as this impartial monitoring mechanism has been abused by “many political parties”;
  • Extension of deadlines for election complaints;
  • Prompt investigation and timely sanctioning of perpetrators of intimidation and violence in elections, including against journalists and election observers; Increased relevant public communication efforts;
  • Take steps to end “the culture of impunity for sexual misconduct, including violations of the right to respect for private and family life” in relation to female candidates;
  • Political parties are increasing contact with minority groups, condemning manipulation in social media and holding constructive debates on priority issues for Georgians.

Below are some of the key highlights from the report:

Preselection period

The IRI report states that the pre-election processes were transparent, well managed and “largely” in compliance with legal requirements. However, it is emphasized that the main driver of criticism of the electoral administration was the process of forming District (DEC) and District Election Commissions (PEC), in which three ruling Georgian dream parties were appointed, but only one representative of the United National Movement at a time. European Georgia and Alliance of Patriots.

In terms of campaign finances, the report said there were allegations of “strong links” between the ruling party and people in companies that received large government tenders. However, according to the IRI, the state audit office was unable to fully investigate the claims.

E-Day, summarizing protocol discrepancies

According to the report, the electoral bodies effectively managed the technical aspects on election day and met their legal obligations. It should be noted that the tabulation of votes was complex and unique due to the high number of electives, resulting in summary minutes “with obvious mathematical discrepancies” which were “quickly corrected” the following day.

However, the report argues that some political actors have misused the flaws by circulating flawed protocols “to claim that the number of results was falsified and to discredit the Central Election Commission”. Still, it adds that the PEC’s right to change data in recapitulative minutes the day after the vote “is based at best on the memory, opinion and explanation of the district’s PEC members
Notes and in the worst case prone to manipulation. “

Irregularities, complaints

The IRI report states that election day irregularities that were noticeable in previous elections “resurfaced in 2020,” including the excessive presence of electoral subjects and media representatives through impartial election observation mechanisms, a 100 percent increase in physical violence and ISFED Reported threats compared to 2016 general election, media filming voters up close in polling stations, and cases of intimidation against citizen watchers.

According to the report, the main election guards’ appeals requesting recounts have been largely unsuccessful. “Of the recounts that took place, six were initiated by the DECs, 14 were the result of a complaint and 19 were based on a court decision,” she notes.

Additionally, IRI said that complaints filed with DECs and PECs for pre-election violations were often rejected on bureaucratic grounds.

“In the days leading up to election day, there were allegedly 72 reports of electoral violations that were being investigated by the Ministry of Elections
Interior, but few have ever been prosecuted, ”the report adds.

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