07TBILISI3051, DCM’S DECEMBER 5 MEETING WITH CENTRAL ELECTION

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07TBILISI3051 2007-12-07 13:16 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO6449
PP RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLN
RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHSI #3051/01 3411316
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 071316Z DEC 07
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8403
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 003051 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPARTMENT FOR EUR/CARC 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PGOV PHUM GG
SUBJECT: DCM'S DECEMBER 5 MEETING WITH CENTRAL ELECTION 
COMMISSION CHAIRMAN TARKHNISHVILI 
 
 
------------ 
Rumor Control 
------------- 
 
1.  (U)  In a December 5 meeting with DCM, Central Election 
Commission (CEC) Chairman Levan Tarkhnishvili refuted rumors 
that CEC short-term contract hires are going door to door to 
verify voter information and ask residents for whom they will 
vote.  He stated emphatically that the CEC's door-to-door 
campaign finished on November 4th, and that if people are 
representing themselves as CEC employees, it is a 
fabrication.  DCM encouraged Tarkhnishvili to reiterate this 
message at every opportunity, so that voters will challenge 
such approaches.  Tarkhnishvili said that 19 candidates were 
canvassing neighborhoods collecting the necessary 50,000 
signatures by December 6 deadlines.   He thought that some of 
the rumors could be linked to this.  The CEC Chairman scoffed 
at the idea that information about who is registered in a 
precinct, but not currently living there could be used to 
commit voter fraud.  He said that the safeguards of finger 
inking and double controls of ID and voter registration card, 
plus the presence of over 20 registered observer 
organizations totally negate this possibility. 
 
2.  (U) Tarkhnishvili was not aware that opposition 
candidates claim they are being unable to lease office space 
in the CEC offices regions or that NMP activists are 
collecting and holding voters' ID cards until after the 
election.  He confirmed the CEC has regional offices, but 
said the landlords have final authority to approve renters, 
not the CEC.  He did say the CEC has made efforts to 
publicize information about available office space on the 
ground floors of CEC regional office buildings. 
Tarkhnishvili said that he was willing to address these 
claims, but he needs specific data, not just hearsay. 
 
----------------------------- 
Timely Posting Of Information 
----------------------------- 
 
3.  (U)  Tarkhnishvili said the CEC plans to issue 
certificates of candidacy on 14 December to all candidates 
who registered on time and have the 50,000 required 
signatures by 1800 on 6 December.  On 17 December there will 
be a public announcement of all the legally registered 
candidates.  He recognized the necessity of collecting and 
posting voting results in a timely manner, but pointed out 
that most Precinct Election Commission (PEC) did not have the 
capability to send results directly to the CEC.  He is 
working now with NDI to purchase around 3,400 fax machines to 
install this capability.  The job is even more challenging 
with the advent of more PECs, due to changing the precincts 
from 2000 to 1500 voters.  The CEC will have a large screen 
its Press Center on Election Day where the results will be 
posted by region to inform the press. Additionally, 
Tarkhnishvili said the CEC will be able to post preliminary 
results by 1500 on January 6. 
 
---------------------- 
Sour Grapes in Kakheti 
---------------------- 
 
4.  (U)  Tarkhnishvili had not heard about the incident of a 
local businessman, Isako Tsipurnishvili threatening Ramaz 
Samkbaradze, Director, Radio Hereti, in Lagodekhi, Kakheti. 
In a recorded conversation, Tsipurnishvili warned Samkbaradze 
to "stay away from cracking down on personalities" during 
election coverage.  Tsipurnishvili offered Samkbaradze a 
bribe if he would temper his criticism of the National 
Movement.  Otherwise, he threatened to have Hereti's license 
revoked or worse.  DCM offered to send the CEC Chairman a 
copy of the transcript so he can follow up on the incident. 
The Public Defender's Office released a transcript of the 
conversation to Channel One and Rustavi 2, and called the 
National Communications Commission.  As of now, Hereti is on 
the air. 
 
--------------------------- 
G.I. Joe--Where does he go? 
--------------------------- 
 
5.  (U)  Tarkhnishvili said that there is a small legislative 
hiccup with coordinating voting for military outside of 
Georgia as currently there is no provision in the law for 
voting by soldiers abroad.  It is permissible to open a PEC 
outside of Georgia for citizens living abroad if they are 
registered with the Georgian Consulate in a given country. 
Unfortunately, there is no consulate, for example, in Iraq. 
The most likely solution is that a special PEC for military 
members would be created in Iraq, but it would be directly 
 
TBILISI 00003051  002 OF 002 
 
 
linked to the CEC.  According to the CEC Chairman, they have 
at least two more weeks in which to address this issue. 
 
------------------- 
Morning After Blues 
------------------- 
 
6.  (U) Tarkhnishvili was concerned more with the day 
following the elections than Election Day itself.  He worries 
that political forces who do not win will claim that the 
election results are false and biased.  His specific concern 
is that there will be a long delay between the PEC closing 
and the posting of preliminary results.  If before this 
per
iod was filled by parallel vote tabulation (PVT) and exit 
polling, this time there will only be PVT results.  He 
underscored that everyone has a special responsibility to 
behave responsibly and think twice about making statements 
before they have all the facts. 
 
--------------- 
Election Crimes 
--------------- 
 
7.  (U)  Tarkhnishvili agreed to send a CEC representative to 
attend the Department Of Justice (DOJ) training at the 
Prosecutor's Office 13-14 December.  One DOJ representative 
from St. Louis and one representative from the Las Vegas 
Office of the FBI will conduct the training for over 50 
prosecutors on the theme of election crimes. 
 
TEFFT

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