Advices of NGOs to the Authorities
13 October, 2011
Advices of NGOs to the Authorities

Some time ago the Authorities announced that meetings would be held at the Security Council and CEC to discuss creation of two groups for monitoring the use of administrative resources and media work during the elections. 

Restriction of the use of administrative resources was one of the main topics in the agreement concluded last July. This agreement also stipulated certain changes in the draft law that controlled the use of administrative resources in favor of a particular party. On top of

it, there were talks that a monitoring team should be created.

Creation of the groups to monitor media work and use of administrative resources are two topics out of the three which were not included in the draft sent to the Venice Commission. Therefore, they were supposed to be discussed separately. So far, situation around them remains stalled. The third topic – creation of the commission to check voter lists – is already clarified though. It even passed the first hearing at the Parliament.

As for the way of monitoring the use of administrative resources, opposition representatives explain: “In the 2010 local elections, there was a sort of an inter-agency commission, which, however, had no legislative basis. Such essential changes depend on the legislative power, not on the goodwill of the Authorities. Heads of different branches of State powers must set up this commission under the supervision of an influential State structure, probably the Security Council. For one thing, the person heading the commission should be a fully authorized independent decision maker, who would not need to agree a single topic with anyone above. This commission should act in accordance with the specific open statute. Meetings should occur with a pre-defined periodicity. They should be open for the opposition, non-governmental organizations, international observers and media. Such meetings will discuss particular issues and set deadlines for their solution. In addition, it should have a hot line available at all times.”

Part of non-governmental sector believes that the new draft election code contains extra tools which in reality could help the Authorities use the administrative resources. They state that in the face of such risks, work of the putative monitoring group, whatever their functions, can become worthless. Three non-governmental organizations – GYLA, For Fair Elections and Transparency International Georgia – argue that the draft elections code widens the circle of public servants who would be allowed to take part in the pre-election campaigns. Namely, the current list is expanded to include Governors (Rtsmunebuli). Till today, only electable public servants have had the right to do so.

Moreover, above said three NGOs point out another essential shortcoming of the draft law. Namely, unlike the current law, it has no definition of ‘election propaganda’, further confusing rules of conducting pre-election campaigns. It is noteworthy that these three organizations have prepared a joint conclusion on the draft law. The note about the lack of definition is also their joint view.

Even though the changes in this specific topic are the initiative of the Authorities only and were incorporated in the list without notifying the editor group. The members of the editor group say that they have not received written remarks of the three NGOs. The document prepared and published by these organizations reads that “In terms of using administrative resources, many issues remain ambiguous and require extra measures; namely, a clear line should be drawn between the party work and administrative function during the pre-election period.”

The future will show if the Authorities are set to consider the said NGO conclusion. So far, experts doubt that they will.

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