\'International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy\' (ISFED) Statement on Developments in Martvili Gamgeoba

ISFED expresses its deepest concerns over the violent acts, carried out in the Martvili municipality gamgeoba building. It is very unfortunate, that despite a number of calls, the representatives of local self-governments are still being illegally pressured throughout various municipalities.

According to the information, available to ISFED, on the November 26, 2012, the broad- scale rally has been conducted in the Martvili municipality, with the request for the municipality gamgebeli and the chairperson of the sakrebulo to step down. The rally was attended by the supporters of the Georgian Dream coalition and the heads of the coalition’s local offices.

The rally turned illegal when the citizens broke into the gamgeoba building, which paralyzed work of the gamgeoba and resulted in the damage of the part of the inventory. Specifically, the windows have  been broken at  the first floor, and  the chair of  the gamgebeli has been thrown out of the building by the citizens. The participants of the rally have left the building with the intervention of the police. Currently, the supporters of the Georgian Dream coalition are blocking the entrance of the gamgeoba building. ISFED once again condemns expression of violence, in any form, and we consider that the the illegal acts, carried out against the local self-government should be immediately investigated,  and  the  participants  of  the  rally  should  be  punished  according  to  the requirements under the Georgian legislation.

In addition, the current situation throughout the country acutely demonstrates the need to conduct reforms in the sphere of self-governance. We consider that the election of the mayors and gamgebelis will increase the public trust towards the elected officials of the self-government and will help to avoid such crisis in the future.