08TBILISI36, TBILISI ELECTIONS UPDATE 01/10/2008

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI36 2008-01-10 14:35 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO8839
PP RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #0036/01 0101435
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 101435Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
INFO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8587

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 000036 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPARTMENT FOR EUR/CARC 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/10/2017 
TAGS: PGOV PHUM KDEM GG
SUBJECT: TBILISI ELECTIONS UPDATE 01/10/2008 
 
 
Classified By: Ambassador John F. Tefft for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). 
 
1.  (C)  Summary:  On January 10 Ambassador Dieter Boden, 
OSCE/ODIHR Observation Team Chief briefed the OSCE 
Ambassadorial Working group, stressing that no systemic fraud 
occurred during the January 5 Presidential Elections.  On the 
same day, Chairman of the Central Elections Commission (CEC) 
Levan Tarkhnishvili gave some explanations for high voter 
turnout in some districts, and the status of the number of 
complaints received.  He expected to announced final results 
on January 13.  Tarkhnishvili stated that even though the 
votes in four different precincts had been nullified, this 
would only affect the over all results by plus/minus one 
percent and it would not affect the overall outcome of the 
election. 
 
 
OSCE Ambassadorial Working Group 
-------------------------------- 
 
2.  (C) At a January 10 OSCE Ambassadorial Working Group, 
Ambassador Dieter Boden, OSCE/ODIHR Observation Team Chief, 
commented that there were serious problems with vote 
tabulation at every fourth precinct election commission (PEC) 
on the day of elections and more evidence of this surfaces 
every day.  He said that he had heard the opposition's claims 
that there was voter fraud, but he could find no evidence to 
support that this was a systemic problem.  Boden noted that 
ODIHR representatives had compared their short term observers 
protocols (130 of 167) protocol information to the 
information posted on the Central Election Commission (CEC) 
website and no major discrepancies were noted. 
 
Fraud 
------ 
 
3.  (C) Boden said that although the opposition alleges that 
it has protocols which do not match CEC website data, no one 
has provided ODIHR nor the CEC with copies of these 
documents.  He said that mistakes were made due to confusion 
and incompetence rather than maliciousness.  Boden did 
acknowledge in some PECs there was a large number of last 
minute voters who appeared between 1700-2000.  Boden gave an 
example of one PEC in Javakheti where according to the 
protocol over 1,0000 voters were processed in the last three 
hours that the poll was open.  According to ODIHR analysts, 
it is not feasible that the PEC could have registered 1,000 
voters in a mere three hours.  On average, it takes at least 
40 seconds to register one voter.  Boden said that the 
turnout in Javakheti seems very high, and the opposition 
points to this as fraud, but no one has been able to give a 
clear cut evidence to support foul play.  Ambassador Igor 
Gaon, Council of Europe, said that the opposition did not 
read the law and has not applied it correctly in regards to 
their claims of fraud.  He too felt that there was no 
evidence of systemic falsification. 
 
Violations 
---------- 
 
4.  (C)  Boden said that The Georgian Young Lawyers 
Association (GYLA) and The Society of Fair Elections and 
Democracy (ISFED) had filed complaints and some of them were 
rejected at the PEC level and then appealed at the district 
level.  For those complaints which were rejected by the 
District Election Commission (DEC), organizations only have 
until the end of the day on January 11 to file a case with 
the CEC or the court system.  All cases at the CEC and courts 
must be decided on January 13 when the official results will 
be announced.  Boden said that the opposition's claims have 
not been substantiated.  The opposition has held press 
conferences to announce their concerns, but have not produced 
the evidence to back it up.  Boden thought their complaints 
were neither realistic nor serious.  He did add that due to 
ISFED and GYLA reporting violations, the results of four PECS 
have been nullified.  In these precincts there were reported 
instances of ballot stuffing, observers being denied access 
to the precinct, or in one case in Mestia, the PEC chairman 
took the ballot box home, no protocol was filed, so votes 
could not be counted. 
 
 
Press Gets it Wrong 
------------------- 
 
5.  (C)  Boden said that his statements have been misused by 
at least three Parliamentarians who quoted him as saying, 
"The results of the January 5 Elections were like a guarantee 
of democracy." Boden asked to clarify this issue on Rustavi 2 
television to correct this misimpression, but was not granted 
air time.  He said he didn't think the media was playing a 
 
TBILISI 00000036  002 OF 002 
 
 
fair game.  He intended to complain to acting President 
Burjanadze. 
 
 
ODIHR Reps Stay Longer 
---------------------- 
 
6. (C)  Boden noted that the ODIHR core team would stay on 
beyond their original mandate.  They were slated to depart 
originally on January 11, they will now depart on January 15. 
 Their next report will be released after their departure to 
Warsaw but he does not expect it to reverse earlier 
observations, nor that the report's impact will change 
anything. 
 
CEC Reviews Election Issues 
--------------------------- &#x000
A; 
7.  (C)  On January 10, Levan Tarkhnishvili, CEC Chairman, 
briefed the diplomatic corps on election results, the 
complaint process, high voter turn-out and "special PECs." 
According to Tarkhnishvili, approximately 600 violations were 
filed, most of them attributed to ISFED or GYLA.  Out of 
these 600, 10 had made it to the CEC level, and seven of 
these had been addressed.  He explained that complaints on 
the day of the election should have been filed with the PEC, 
or if rejected by the PEC, could be filed at the district 
level (DEC.)  The next level in the process would either be 
in the courts system of Georgia or the CEC. 
 
 
High-Voter Turnout 
------------------- 
 
8.  (C)  Tarkhnishvili's spokesman, Irakli Porchkhidze, 
attributed high turn out rates in some regions due to 
"special PECs."  He explained the "special PECs" as being 
military units, hospitals, police, prisons, or other 
institutions, which are subordinate to existing civil PECs. 
This is envisioned in the Election Code.   There are 73 of 
these "special PECS" and the total number of voters can be up 
to 2,000. These "special PECs" have a separate ballot box at 
a separate location but the ballot box is taken to its 
requisite PEC for counting at the end of the day. In theory, 
the civil PEC should call out to the "special PEC" during the 
day, before 1200 and 1700, to get the total number of people 
who have voted, so this information can be included on the 
protocol sheet along with other voters who have voted at 
these designated times.  Tarkhnishvili said that in many 
cases this did not happen, and the end result was a sudden 
jump in the numbers of voters listed on the protocol in the 
last three hours of the day when these "special PECs" ballot 
boxes made their way to their requisite PEC.  Porchkhidze 
disagreed that 1,000 voters could not be processed at the 
polling stations in three hours time, saying that with five 
people working the registration desk the process is faster 
than in previous elections. 
 
Invalid Votes 
------------- 
 
9.  (C)  Tarkhnishvili said that the votes voided from the 
four PECs earlier in the day would not change the overall 
results by more/less than one percentage point. Only court 
cases would change the results in such a way to affect the 
overall results, and currently there are no election 
violation court cases pending. 
 
 
10.  (C) Comment:  The Embassy has shared its concerns about 
the election process directly with the CEC and expects to 
receive answers by January 11.  End Comment. 
 
TEFFT

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