\'International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy\' (ISFED) presents the third report of post-election monitoring
International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED) presents the third report of post-election monitoring, focusing on political processes and dismissals in local self- governments, protest rallies and legal prosecutions instituted against self-government officials.
From October 1, 2012 parliamentary elections to present, total of 50 Gamgebelis have resigned throughout Georgia, including 48 Gamgebelis that resigned willingly and two under Sakrebulo’s decisions. During the same period of time, 25 Sakrebulo Chairpersons have resigned, including 21 Chairpersons that resigned willingly and four under Sakrebulo’s decisions.
15 municipalities announced a competition for selection of Gamgebelis. In most of the cases Sakrebulos appointed Acting Gamgebelis.
Replacement of Gamgebelis was coupled with the process of redistribution of political powers in Sakrebulos. Starting from October 1, 2012, to February 1, 2013, new factions were set up in 54 municipalities resulting in shifting the balance of power and forming new majority.
ISFED has also examined post-election staff changes in local municipalities. According to official reports that ISFED received from all municipalities in response to its inquiry, total of 1877 employees have been dismissed from October 1, 2012 to February 28, 2013. Staff changes occurred in 55 Gamgeobas and 26 Sakrebulos out of 69 municipalities. Majority of dismissed employees comprised of trustees of territorial agencies. Their dismissals were frequently preceded by meetings with Gamgebeli. Total of 425 Trustees were dismissed in 34 municipalities.
34 municipalities. Dismissals also affected municipality kindergartens mostly by replacement of heads of kindergartens’ unions.
Majority of persons dismissed submitted letters of resignation. In many cases dozens of employees submitted resignation letters the same day, which raises logical doubts about whether they resigned willingly. In a number of cases dismissed public servants confirm that they resigned under pressure from their supervisors; however, most of them are reluctant to publicly acknowledge the fact. Some explained that they acted in view of the political situation and the change of power. Hiring of new employees based on party affiliation was reported in 18 municipalities during the reporting period. Competitions were announced in 6 municipalities only. Those appointed on the basis of their political affiliation mostly included activists and supporters of the coalition Georgian Dream.
During the reporting period investigating authorities launched a probe into activities of municipal agencies. In several cases criminal proceedings were instituted and officials were questioned. The present report features 11 cases of prosecution in which probes were launched into the activities of local self-government officials and public servants for events prior to the 2012 parliamentary elections. Probes have been launched mostly into alleged abuse of budget resources and abuse of official power.
ISFED disapproves of the trends identified in municipalities and believes that the practice has an adverse impact on liberating public servants from political influence. Despite a number of statements made by the authorities, no meaningful steps have been made for thwarting the trend of dismissals within local self-governments. Therefore, it is important to facilitate a discussion between the authorities, the opposition and civil society representatives about ways to put an end to the negative practice and specific measures that need to be taken for addressing interests of citizens whose rights have been violated.