Two Parliamentary Assembly experts have expressed their concern at reports of financial sanctions imposed by the Georgian authorities on an opposition political group.
It is believed that the bank accounts of the Georgian Dream opposition coalition have been seized.
Michael Aastrup Jensen and Boriss Cilevičs, the Parliamentary Assembly co-rapporteurs for Georgia, are worried that this could undermine the coalition’s participation in the 1 October parliamentary elections.
In a statement published today, the experts stated: “The excessive and disproportionate fines levied by the State Audit Service effectively undermine normal political activity by an opposition party. This is of concern, especially in the context of recurrent allegations of bias of the State Audit Service and reports by credible organisations, such as the Georgian Young Lawyers Association, that question the fairness of the court decisions in this respect
“The rationale for campaign funding legislation is to ensure a level playing field between all electoral contestants, and not to drive one party or the other out of the electoral race. The upcoming elections, and their democratic conduct, are crucial for Georgia’s democratic development.
“We therefore call upon the Georgian authorities to demonstrate maximum restraint and to ensure that all parties, including he Georgian Dream Coalition, can participate fully in the electoral campaign.”
The two experts will visit Georgia on 11 and 12 September.