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Extreme Violations Observed at Potskhveriani Polls

David Sherazadashvili from the Georgian Dream Party has become the mayor of Bolnisi, a region mostly populated by the ethnic Azerbaijanis.


He received 144 votes from the village of Potskhveriani. Another Georgian Dream candidate, Elimkhan Hajiyev, was elected a deputy for the village with 134 votes. United National Movement (UNM) candidate Ismayil Mamedov received  56 votes.

Serious violations were observed at the polling station in Potskhveriani.  

Zamina Farkhadova, 45, said she was told inside the polling station to cast a vote for 41 (a representative of the Georgian Dream Party). “I do not even know the candidate,” she said.

“I have voted for 41. I do not know his name. I just came,” 62-year-old villager Tamilla Novruzova told a reporter.

Mostly elderly people came to the polling station.

“Our main problem is the school problem. We want to have a school. My grandchildren are in Baku because of this problem,” said Latifa Khuseynova, 60. She said the majority of young people in the village are unemployed.

It should be noted that there is only one school with five pupils in Potskhveriani village. The school provides education for grades 1-4. Many villagers send their children to the region center of Bolnisi or other villages to study.

According to the villagers, another main problem is a lack of space at the cemetery. Matlab Novruzov, 58, said the village residents had applied numerous times to the Bolnisi municipal government in connection with this issue. Novruzov said that they had been told the problem would be reviewed after the election. “We have no place to bury our close ones,” he said.

“There are no lights along the main road. At night, it is impossible to see the village. I have voted for my favorite candidate, as he has promised to solve this problem,” said 84-year-old Giyas Aliyev.

Gamar Jummadova said that she had voted for 41, but did not specify her candidate. “I want him to solve all the problems,” she said.

According to someone who asked not to use their name for fear of being fired, some local Central Election Commission (CEC) members have been paid by the Georgian Dream Party to engage in propaganda before and during the election.

“They have been given a card," this person said. "If enough people vote for the Georgian Dream, they are expected to be paid 500 GEL (about $210). Right now, they are inside the polling station. When you approach the registration table, they tell you to vote for 41.”

Members of the CEC, who were supposed to be inside the polling station, were seen sitting outside. They were told by the chairman of the polling station to go inside after a reporter had taken their photos. The chairman was very aggressive and demanded the reporter to stop asking questions and taking photos.

One observer inside the polling station reacted aggressively when asked whether she had observed any violations.  According to the CEC members, they did not observe any violations during the voting.

Some voters said they could freely vote for their candidate.

“I have cast my vote for Davit Sheradashvili," said 18-year-old Nurana Farhadova, who voted for the first time. "There is nothing in the village. As a young person, I would like to see more enlightening and entertaining stuff. It might be a public library, not a school library which is closed to the public. Or maybe language courses,” she said

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