08TBILISI828, GEORGIA PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION UPDATE MAY 20

WikiLeaks Link

To understand the justification used for the classification of each cable, please use this WikiSource article as reference.
Discussing cables
If you find meaningful or important information in a cable, please link directly to its unique reference number. Linking to a specific paragraph in the body of a cable is also possible by copying the appropriate link (to be found at theparagraph symbol).Please mark messages for social networking services like Twitter with the hash tags #cablegate and a hash containing the reference ID e.g. #08TBILISI828.
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI828 2008-05-20 15:16 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO8743
PP RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHBW RUEHDA RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA
RUEHLN RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHSI #0828/01 1411516
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 201516Z MAY 08
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9470
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 000828 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR EUR/CARC 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM KDEM GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION UPDATE MAY 20 
 
REF: TBILISI 765 
 
1. (SBU) Summary:  As the election campaign entered its last 
week, ODIHR released its Second Interim Report on May 15. 
The report highlights active GOG election preparations, an 
extended deadline to check voter lists, increased campaign 
activity by opposition parties, and the broadly-equal TV 
coverage by the Georgian Public Broadcaster (GPB).  It also 
notes lack of evidential review during complaint hearings and 
increased incidents of intimidation in the regions. 
USAID-funded IFES discovered some of its PEC trainings were 
not being attended by opposition-appointed PEC members or 
party observers, and the Embassy intervened with both the GOG 
and the opposition to fix the situation.  On May 13, 
President Saakashvili said the role of opposition in 
Parliament and government should be increased after the 
elections.  On May 9, the MOIA issued a statement echoing the 
Public Defender's call that all cases of intimidation should 
be investigated.  In a bid to improve the election's 
transparency, IFES and the CEC procured 800 more faxes with 
which to send preliminary results directly to the CEC, 540 of 
which do not require landlines.  An anti-government NGO 
released its poll results this week.  Though its results 
differ from those of Greenberg Quinlan Rosner (septel), the 
survey's methodology is unclear.  End Summary. 
 
ODIHR Take Two, The Good and the Bad 
------------------------------------ 
 
2. (U) ODIHR released its Second Interim Report on May 15 
(emailed to EUR/CARC).  On the positive side, ODIHR noted 
that nearly all parties have begun campaigning in earnest. 
The Central Election Commission (CEC) is very active, having 
extended the deadline for parties to correct the voters' 
list, have held trainings around the country on schedule, 
been very open with their sessions, registered numerous more 
international and domestic observers, and maintained a much 
improved public awareness campaign.  President Saakashvili 
and MOIA Vano Merabishvili each recently issued strong 
statements against any malfeasance or interference in the 
election process.  Saakashvili demanded a National Movement 
(UNM) majoritarian candidate in Tsageri remove himself from 
the race after threatening government employees if he did not 
receive 80 percent.  The report also stated that the Georgian 
Public Broadcaster has been broadly equitable to all parties 
in the campaign, with both airtime and news coverage.  They 
have provided each party 7 free slots of 90 seconds each, 
which may be unprecedented, according to political consultant 
Jeremy Rosner. 
 
3. (SBU) On the less positive side, ODIHR noted that the 
opposition has threatened violence and is using extreme 
language, which is damaging the campaign environment and 
threatening the election administration.  The report mentions 
an increase in threats of intimidation by officials, 
primarily in the regions.  The report states that the ruling 
UNM continues to receive more -- and more positive -- 
coverage on all major TV stations, except the Georgian Public 
Broadcaster (and the small, opposition-oriented Kavkasia). 
Finally, the report notes that most appeals filed with the 
election commissions or courts have been decided in the UNM's 
favor, with no review of evidence or testimony of witnesses. 
(Note:  The dismissal of complaints and appeals without 
proper review was a problem noted in ODIHR's final report 
after the presidential election.  ODIHR privately told Poloff 
that allegations of intimidation are still much fewer than 
during the Presidential election.  End note.) 
 
 
PEC Members Miss Trainings in Kvemo Kartli 
------------------------------------------ 
 
4. (SBU) USAID-funded IFES -- formerly the International 
Foundation for Election Systems -- has provided the training 
plan, materials and personnel (in conjunction with UNDP) to 
train nearly 51,000 election commissioners for the May 21 
elections.  On May 14, an IFES training coordinator 
discovered some of its PEC trainings were not being attended 
by opposition-appointed PEC members in Marneuli and Dmanisi 
districts in the Kvemo Kartli region (both districts saw 
unusually high turnout in January).  IFES contacted the CEC, 
who called the DEC Chairman.  IFES then traveled to meet the 
Marneuli DEC Chairman.  IFES reported that the DEC Chairman 
(a powerful local figure) claimed that he was unaware exactly 
why the opposition members were not attending the PEC 
trainings.  The Embassy raised the issue with Giga Bokeria 
and opposition leaders, and encouraged the Republican and 
Conservative parties to ensure their PEC members and 
observers attended training on May 17 and 20.  The Republican 
party told Poloff on May 16 that they had experienced 
 
TBILISI 00000828  002 OF 002 
 
 
significant problems in Marneuli district, with many PECs not 
even having been opened yet.  They said the DEC had never 
informed their PEC members about the training. 
 
Saakashvili a
nd MOIA Make Statements 
------------------------------------ 
 
5. (U) On May 13, President Saakashvili addressed a group of 
university students in Tbilisi.  He said the opposition's 
role in Parliament and government should be increased after 
the elections.  Saakashvili said that currently the 
opposition has no feeling of responsibility or involvement in 
the government, and consequently does not share its successes 
either.  Such a condition is a weakness, said Saakashvili, 
which should be discussed openly in the next Parliament. 
Most opposition parties dismissed Saakashvili's statement out 
of hand, saying it could not be trusted.  The Republicans and 
Christian-Democratic Movement were slightly more nuanced, 
noting that coalition governments are common in Europe, but 
such talk would have to wait until after the elections. 
 
6. (U) On May 9, the Ministry of Internal Affairs issued a 
statement echoing the Public Defender's call that all cases 
of intimidation should be investigated and those guilty 
punished.  This was in response to the Public Defender noting 
a rise in accusations of intimidation.  The MOIA agreed that 
free and fair elections are the common goal and 
responsibility of all government agencies.  The statement 
said the MOIA will protect all witnesses and victims' rights, 
and that any government agency with information regarding 
such intimidation or crimes, including the Public Defender, 
should share that information with the relevant law 
enforcement authorities. 
 
Just the Fax(es)... 
------------------- 
 
7. (SBU) IFES provided logistical and technical support, 
which allowed the CEC to acquire approximately 800  more 
faxes for this election (USAID-funded IFES bought 1,000 
landline faxes for the January election).  The CEC bought the 
lion's share of the new machines, 540 of which do not require 
landlines.  The faxes will allow even remote PECs to send 
their preliminary results directly to the CEC, where they 
will then be immediately posted on the CEC's website.  IFES 
conducted a feasibility study earlier, and is now 
distributing and setting up the machines, in preparation to 
test the system on May 17.  The use of the faxes is seen as a 
key component of ensuring greater transparency in this 
election. 
 
NGO Releases Survey Results 
--------------------------- 
 
8. (SBU) On May 14, the anti-government coalition of NGOs, 
For Fair Elections, released the results of their nationwide 
survey.  They claimed they polled 300 Tbilisians and 825 
people from 10 regions throughout Georgia.  The group claimed 
that 87.2% of respondents would vote, 6.1% would not vote, 
and 6.7% were undecided.  Apparently, these numbers are taken 
from those who agreed to participate, as 25% of those polled 
refused to answer any questions.  The Nationwide results were 
reported as: 
 
-- Joint Opposition 34% 
-- UNM 31.6% 
-- Christian-Democratic Movement 11.8% 
-- Labor 9.3% 
-- Republicans 7.6% 
 
(Comment: The NGO did not explain their methodology in 
greater detail.  The results are inconsistent with the UNM's 
political consultant Rosner's recent polls, reported septel, 
which show the UNM with a consistent lead among likely 
voters.  End comment. 
TEFFT

Wikileaks

Advertisements
Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: