The International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED) filed two complaints with the electoral administration in connection to violations of campaigning rules in Kvareli and Batumi and misuse of administrative resources.
The first case concerns a Facebook post by Ketevan Chipashvili, head of Kvareli Educational Resource Center, published during work hours. She openly supports a majoritarian candidate of the Georgian Dream in Kvareli Municipality on behalf of the Resource Center and public schools in Kvareli Municipality. The Facebook post features a photo of Rostom Sesiashvili as well as his bio and calls in support of the candidate.
Participation of Ketevan Chipashvili, a civil servant, in campaigning during working hours constitutes violation of the electoral legislation and contradicts the principle of neutrality and impartiality established for civil servants by the Election Code of Georgia. Furthermore, statements made by the head of the Resource Center in the name of public schools may be perceived as abuse of authority and an attempt to instruct teachers to support Sesiashvili in the elections. The electoral legislation envisages a fine of GEL 2000 for such violation as an administrative penalty.
The second case concerns the Ministry of Finance and Economy of Ajara A/R and its use of the official Facebook page for election campaigning. In particular, on September 12, the Ministry published photos from the event where the Georgian Dream nominated Ajara A/R mayoral candidates. The photos feature party symbols, the flag and the logo. Furthermore, the Ministry also published a video about the campaign event.
The action of the Ministry of Finance and Economy of Ajara A/R constitutes violation of the electoral legislation and contradicts the principle of neutrality and impartiality of the official bodies of Ajara A/R.
ISFED believes that such actions blur the line between the Ministry’s activities and party activities, which amounts to a violation of para.1”b” of Article 48 of the Election Code of Georgia, punishable with a fine of GEL 2000.
The complaint filed by ISFED with the CEC seeks liability both for the Minister of Finance and Economy of Ajara and the individual responsible for administration of the Ministry’s official Facebook page must be held liable.