08TBILISI2073, GEORGIA: UNM STRONG IN ADJARA ELECTIONS, DESPITE

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. #08TBILISI2073.
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI2073 2008-11-06 14:16 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO4638
PP RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #2073/01 3111416
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 061416Z NOV 08
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0365
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO 3982
RUEHVEN/USMISSION USOSCE 2210

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 002073 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR EUR/CARC 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/06/2018 
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM KDEM GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA: UNM STRONG IN ADJARA ELECTIONS, DESPITE 
ANNULLMENTS 
 
REF: TBILISI 2018 
 
Classified By: Charge d'Affaires a.i. Kent D. Logsdon for reasons 1.4 ( 
b) and (d). 
 
1. (SBU) Begin Summary:  Extremely low turnout marked 
by-elections in two Tbilisi districts held on November 3 to 
fill two vacant seats that opposition parties refused to fill 
after the May elections.  The Christian-Democratic Movement 
(CDM) candidate won the Vake seat.  In Didube, the National 
Democratic Party (NDP) won its first Parliamentary seat in a 
decade.  In elections in Adjara for the 18-seat Supreme 
Council of the Autonomous Republic of Adjara, the ruing 
United National Movement (UNM) won a landslide victory taking 
78.8 percent of the vote.  The CDM also passed the 5 percent 
threshold with 14.7 percent.  Turnout in Adjara was just 
under 45 percent.  Due to allegations of manipulating the 
results of the vote after the polls had closed (presumably to 
increase turnout numbers), the Supreme Election Council of 
Adjara annulled the results of the entire District of 
Khelvachauri and ten precincts in the Shuakhevi and Khulo 
regions.  In Khelvachauri, repeat proportional elections will 
be held on November 16, and the majoritarian race will be 
re-run on December 14.  Embassy Tbilisi provided three 
election observation teams in Adjara and three in Tbilisi. 
The UK Embassy, supplemented by individuals from local 
international organizations, sponsored 11 teams in Adjara, 
and noted some serious problems, that seemed to indicate that 
local and regional officials manipulated election results in 
an effort to increase turnout percentages.  The Council of 
Europe also observed.  Despite their calls for new 
parliamentary elections, most non-Parliamentary opposition 
parties boycotted this round.  End summary. 
 
2. (C) Comment: In both Tbilisi and Adjara PECs, the 
Embassy's observation teams noted much-improved election-day 
processes and administration in all election districts in 
comparison with January presidential and May parliamentary 
elections.  It appeared that the Central Election Commission 
(CEC) and IFES have made significant progress in training 
election officials.  In addition, CEC Chairman Levan 
Tarkhnishvili told Poloff that the CEC, and by association 
the government, had made strong statements to local leaders 
to run the election in a transparent and fair manner. 
Despite these messages, it appears in several districts that 
tradition trumped instruction, as local officials attempted 
to manipulate results after the polls closed.  The government 
quickly announced it would annul results in several areas 
where fraud was high, including the entire district of 
Khelvachauri.  The IRI Chief of Party told Poloff that the 
chairman of the Khelvachauri district election commission 
would be removed.  If the government's investigation of 
complaints is transparent and transgressors are punished, 
this would be a first for the government, and a strong 
display of accountability.  End comment. 
 
LOW TURNOUT IN TBILISI 
 
3. (U) The low turnout and results in Tbilisi were largely as 
expected (reftel), except for the NDP's surprisingly-strong 
win in Didube.  In Didube, turnout was slightly better than 
expected at 11.4 percent. Guram Chakhvadze, the National 
Democratic Party (NDP), conducted a serious election 
campaign.  He worked closely with the International 
Republican Institute on his campaign strategy.  This paid 
off, as his win, with 5272 votes, gave his party its first 
Parliamentary seat in a decade.  Natela Mikiashvili of 
QParliamentary seat in a decade.  Natela Mikiashvili of 
"Kartuli Dasi," garnered only 1413 votes and Jemal 
Natelashvili of the Radical Democrats received 724 votes. 
CDM candidate Tamaz Kvachantiradze won the seat in Vake. 
With just 7.6 percent of Vake voters turning out, 
Kvachantiradze received 2940 votes, compared to 2363 for 
Levan Asatiani of the party, "We Ourselves."  Kakha Koridze 
from Jondi Baghaturia's "Kartuli Dasi" party received 1577. 
The turnout was so low in both districts that Embassy 
observers visited multiple polling stations where they did 
not see a single voter. 
 
UNM SWEEPS ADJARA 
 
4. (U) In Adjara, also on November 3, the UNM won a landslide 
victory in elections for the Supreme Council of the 
Autonomous Republic of Adjara.  The previous Supreme Council 
consisted of 30 seats.  In August 2008, the body changed the 
election code and reduced the number of seats to 18 for the 
newly-elected Supreme Council.  Of these 18 seats, 12 are 
proportionally-distributed by party list.  The other six 
 
TBILISI 00002073  002 OF 002 
 
 
seats are majoritarian, one for each of Adjara's six regions: 
Batumi, Kobluleti, Khelvachauri, Keda, Shuakhevi, and Khulo. 
The UNM took 78.8 percent of the popular vote, and swept all 
of the majoritarian races, giving the UNM 17 seats.  The only 
other party to pass the 5 percent threshold was the CDM, 
which received 14.7 percent, and one party list seat. 
Prel
iminary results from the election commission showed 
turnout at just under 45 percent. 
 
CEC ANNULS QUESTIONABLE RESULTS 
 
5. (C) In some Adjaran PECs, including Shuakhevi and Khulo 
regions, turnout was extremely high, in some cases even 
exceeding 100 percent!  CEC Chairman Levan Tarkhnishvili told 
Poloff on November 4 that this "unusually high turnout" led 
the Supreme Election Council to annul those PECs. 
Additionally, Tarkhnishvili said complaints by local and 
international observers, a CEC representative, and internal 
PEC members were the reason behind the annulment of the 
entire District of Khelvachauri.  CDM Vice-Speaker Levan 
Vepkhvadze and UNM Chairman of the Legal Issues Committee 
Paliko Kublashvili were also observing in Batumi, as members 
of the Inter-faction group of Parliament.  The CEC chairman 
also told Poloff that local officials had been warned by the 
central government to not interfere with the election or 
inflate results.  Despite these warnings, he said these 
people did so anyway and "need to be punished."  In 
Khelvachauri, repeat proportional elections will be held on 
November 16, and the majoritarian race will be re-run on 
December 14. 
 
EMBASSY, USAID, UK OBSERVE 
 
6. (SBU) Embassy Tbilisi provided three election observation 
teams in Adjara.  Teams visited several remote PECs in the 
mountains, as well as in all six districts.  Poloff filed one 
formal complaint at PEC #1 in Khelvachauri district.  The 
complaint stemmed from the PEC Chairman and a District 
Election Commission representative (present in the PEC) 
intentionally not following proper counting and tabulation 
procedures.  They persisted in forging the final protocol 
even after these improper procedures were pointed out.  The 
British Embassy sponsored 11 teams.  They noticed some 
serious problems throughout the day, including busing voters 
to the polls, intimidation of local observers, ballot 
stuffing, and intentional manipulation of protocols.  UK 
Poloff submitted a list of the most serious violations his 
teams observed to Tarkhnishvili.  Embassy observers in 
Tbilisi noticed no violations of election day procedures. 
 
MANY OPPOSITION PARTIES BOYCOTT 
 
7. (U) The Republican Party, the United Opposition, the New 
Rights Party the Labor Party and others outside of 
Parliament, boycotted both elections.  The Industrialists 
party, led by former MP Zurab Tkemaladze, participated in 
Adjara, but not in the Tbilisi elections.  They complained, 
however, that they were not given access to TV airtime, even 
though they receive state party funding due to their results 
in the 2006 local elections.  Tarkhnishvili disagreed with 
the Industrialists' interpretation of the law, saying that 
their 2006 election results only give them air time in a 
presidential election.  He added however, that the Georgian 
Public Broadcaster had offered the Industrialists free air 
time in Adjara, which they refused. 
LOGSDON

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: