It has been decided that the ballot papers of the elections held 7 months ago will be counted live and a number of people involved in the process will be interviewed. However, “Georgian Dream” refuses to listen to them, who may have substantiated information about this or that violation or crime. Opposition parties in parliament have refused to participate in the commission’s work, calling the delay a farce. What is the commission of four deputies going to determine? How relevant is the study of election results today, when a long time has passed since the election?
Composition of the Commission
In addition to the representatives of the Georgian Dream – Givi Mikanadze (Chairman of the Commission) and Aluda Ghudushauri, the four members of the Commission are the European Socialists – Davit Zilfimiani (Secretary of the Commission) and Fridon Injia.
The commission could not grow because all other opposition parties refused to get involved in the process; According to the proportion defined by the law, the representatives of the Georgian Dream can no longer be added to the commission.
“We are the people here who (should) answer all the questions that may exist in nature, through our actions, through the actions of this commission, within this commission.” – Aluda Ghudushauri, the representative of the Georgian Dream in the commission, said at the second session held on May 18, which was to approve the action plan of the commission.
According to the plan, the following are procedurally provided:
- Requesting information from the CEC, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Prosecutor’s Office;
- Determining the methodology and number of polling stations and counting the ballot papers according to the polling stations;
- Compiling and approving the list of persons invited to the sitting of the commission;
- Deprivation of explanations for invited persons;
- Preparation of the conclusion / voting / approval.
The purpose of the commission of inquiry is to investigate the election day, as well as the previous and subsequent periods, and to identify possible violations or crimes.
According to the Georgian Dream, the opposition refuses to get involved in the work of the commission because it has no evidence of election fraud.
The main part of the opposition believes that the Georgian Dream is now trying to stage a political show by setting up a commission of inquiry, with a 7-month delay it will be impossible to verify the facts and there is no trust in the ballot papers.
“The truth should have been established when we demanded it at the level of ballot counting in the commissions and our complaints should have been considered in the courts. “If they wanted to investigate and find out the truth, they had many months to do so and now we are not going to participate in this play.” – Saba Buadze, the representative of “Lelo” told Radio Liberty.
The international community recognizes the conclusion of the OSCE / ODIHR EOM that, despite various irregularities, Georgia held elections on 31 October 2020 in a manner that protected fundamental freedoms. There are no words “free and fair” in the evaluation of the elections, which indicates its non-compliance with high Western standards.
At a special Senate hearing on Georgia on March 23, it was noted that the parliamentary elections were held “on the verge of legitimacy” and this distinguishes it from democratic elections.
Counting of ballots and protocols
The secretary of the commission, Davit Zilfimian, a representative of the European Socialists, told RFE / RL that he was deeply saddened when “Unjustly Cursed” Due to involvement in the commission. He says that this process “requires a lot of energy”, but the truth about the elections must be established – “This is a matter of my dignity.”
In general, Zilfimian is not in favor of counting ballots, and for the very reason that – many people distrust it; However, he is not going to put up much resistance in this matter. The main thing for the “European Socialist” is that the commission reveals all the unbalanced summary protocols and then carefully examines the members of the commission.
“For example, the protocol was amended, 7 were written and now 50 votes are written. We have to ask all the members – why did it happen? How it happened? Why did they sign or not sign? We will definitely do this at the commitment level. Yes, sir, let’s open the boxes, but the protocols are more important to me and if I do not pass this methodology, I will leave the commission. “ – Zilfimiani tells us.
The commission will definitely count the ballots and plans to hire 12 counters for that.
The plan states that these individuals should be professionally selected members of election commissions whose polling stations have not revealed any irregularities.
- It was the wish of the Georgian Dream, these 12 members were elected by the election administration itself;
- However, in the end, it was decided by the European Socialists that the CEC would provide a wider list, and the commission would select 12 on the spot (possibly by lottery method).
Why 12 and not less or more – Fridon Injia inquired at the session, to which Givi Mikanadze answered that – the recount will be done in two rooms, live and because the number of commission members is limited, four people will have to split into two to supervise the process.
Receipt of information and list of interviewees
The plan states that the commission will initially receive information from the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Prosecutor’s Office and the CEC.
The members of the commission state that the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Prosecutor’s Office will provide them with comprehensive information on all the facts that have been responded to or that an investigation has been launched; And the information requested from the CEC is related to the summary protocols and the received complaints.
“We request a list indicating the polling stations / districts whose imbalances were registered in the summary protocols and we request copies of these protocols. We also request information on the sum of ballots causing the imbalance, ie a single digit. We ask for a list with reference to the polling stations, districts where the four listed non-governmental organizations – “Fair Elections”. “The Young Lawyers’ Association, Transparency International and Multinational Georgia requested the recount of ballot papers … We also ask the CEC for statistics on complaints of election violations in the October 31 elections, data on the authors of the complaint and the results of the proceedings.” – says the chairman of the commission, Givi Mikanadze.
The European Socialists demand that the Commission obtain information from any citizen of Georgia who may have valuable information about violations and possible crimes. David Zilfimian tells us that he personally takes responsibility for protecting the rights of each such citizen. But how – it does not know yet.
“Dream” is against. Aluda Ghudushauri said at the hearing that the commission was “not a prosecutor’s office” and that it would be impossible to investigate facts that no one had appealed to the investigative bodies or the court. At the same time, the “representatives of the Dream” point out that hiding a crime is also a crime and is inconsistent with the law, if this or that citizen did not provide information about a possible crime to the law enforcement agencies in time.
Who will the commission interview? The exact list does not yet exist.
If the “European Socialists” insist on questioning the members of the commission regarding the protocols, Givi Mikanadze makes the following explanation:
“Among the invited will be considered in the list of political entities or representatives of the non-governmental sector. “I think we need to invite them and ask them specific questions – what factual material is behind the statements they have repeatedly made, based on that we need to see if it was an aerial statement or if it was concrete evidence.”
- The commission of inquiry set up on February 17 expired its first three-month term without even starting work, and therefore By a resolution of Parliament, The term was extended for another month, until June 17. According to the law, it is possible to extend the term twice more per month.
- As a reason for such delays in the process, the Commission itself In the report Names advice of international partners – “On the advice of international partners, a decision was made to wait for the negotiations to be completed and for the temporary involvement of the opposition to be carried out by a temporary commission of inquiry.”
The opposition is not involved in the process now either, but the commission is still working.
The members of the commission are going to invite the representatives of the embassies operating in Georgia and international or local supervisory organizations in the format of an information meeting on May 19. The “European Socialists” think it is too early, while the “Georgian Dream” thinks that the advice of international partners and the non-governmental sector is necessary for the work process.