Collective statement of the oppositional parties on pre-electoral environment made at today’s meeting of the ‘Council of Leaders’
We, the oppositional parties of Georgia, are expressing our discontent over the unequal and discriminative pre-electoral environment of 21 October 2017 municipal elections.
One should note that there are problems in all directions:

1.Unequal media-environment:

1.1   ‘Channel Two’ of the Public Broadcaster which offered the coverage to the opposition, even in times of unfair media control of the previous government, was closed down prior to municipal elections and all its political shows were shut down.

1.2   The one and only debate between the candidates for Tbilisi Mayorship is scheduled on Public Broadcaster two days before the election day.

1.3   Furthermore, the government keeps attacking independent television channels:

1.4   Television company ‘Maestro’ used to be one of the strongest independent channels in Georgia. After the merger with the government-backed media holding, the channel ceased its political shows and remains idle.
Television company ‘Imedi’, on the other hand, which was being protected vehemently by the Georgian society in face of undemocratic and illegal decision of the previous government, has now become merely an annex to the press centre of the ruling party. Editorial              policy of the channel is wholly dependent on the interests of the government propaganda.
According to the report by the National Communications Commission, the Primetime of ‘Imedi’ is mainly dedicated to two political parties: ‘Georgian Dream’ (49,61%) and ‘European Georgia’ (19,67%). All other parties share the remaining 30.72%.

2.Unequal financial resources:

According to the report of the State Audit Office, in the period of August-September, political parties received the following amounts of donations:

2.1.  ‘Georgian Dream’ - 8 589 478 ლ (91.78%);
2.2.  ‘European Georgia’ - 623 403 ლ(6.66%);
2.3.  All other political parties – 146 170 ლ (156%).

3.Electoral administrations and disputes:

Just like all previous elections, the selection process of ‘independent’ commission members in district and regional electoral commissions was fully devoid of transparency.

Therefore, so far, only 15% of complaints submitted to electoral commissions has been (at least partially) satisfied, the majority of which relates to minor procedural violations.

One should also note that significant part of complaints submitted (32%) to administrations regarded the use of administrative resources and illegal participation of ineligible people in political agitation. Only one, out of all complaints submitted of this type were satisfied, the one against the member of the commission appointed by the oppositional party.

Therefore, we believe that the electoral environment, prior to the 21 October 2017 municipal elections, is unfair, discriminative and cannot produce elections that will be competitive and fair.

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.

PAC 'The New Rights' - Mamuka Katsitadze
PAC 'The New Georgia' - Giorgi Vashadze
PAC 'New Christian Democrats' - Grigol Jojua
PAC 'United Democratic Movement' - Nino Burjanadze
PAC 'Demmocratic Movement - United Georgia' - Gigla Baramidze
PAC 'European Democrats' - Paata Davitaia
PAC 'National Forum' - Soso Vakhtangishvili, (on behalf of election bloc 'Sheneba' - David Usupashvili)
PAC 'National Democratic Party' - Bachuki Kardava
PAC 'Free Georgia' - Kakha Kukava
PAC 'Freedom' - Konstantine Gamsakhurdia
PAC 'Labour Party of Georgia' - Shalva Natelashvili
PAC 'The Union of Traditionalists' - Akaki Asatiani
PAC 'Political Movement of Patriots and Military Veterans' - Gia Berdzenidze

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