Saturday, January 5, 2008

Reports of abuses by local officials

An opposition member of the Central Election Commission told journalists their representative was forced to leave a precinct in the western port town of Poti after a call from local authorities. The incident was resolved after central CEC involvement.

Most vote violations today, if they are confirmed, are expected to be the work of local government bosses called gamgebeli. Some may be arranging vote fraud in their precincts unilaterally, as was once the habit in this former Soviet nation. That is why, no matter how earnestly central authorities promise a free and fair election, some irregularities are inevitable -- but not necessarily to the extent that they invalidate the entire election.


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