Publication | Electoral Assessment

New Report on Abuse of State Resources in Georgia

This report details findings from an IFES Abuse of State Resources Assessment conducted in Georgia following October 2016 elections. This assessment served as the pilot test of the Abuse of State Resources Research and Assessment Framework assessment methodology, which was researched, developed, and peer-reviewed under the Global Elections and Political Transitions mechanism supported by the United States Agency for International Development. Using this methodology, the report draws on detailed desk research as well as a field research mission to Georgia in May 2017. Findings are focused on abuse of state resources (ASR) legal provisions, oversight institutions and enforcement mechanisms.

ASR violations are a consistent feature of national and municipal elections in Georgia, and assessment interlocutors see the participation of civil servants in campaign activities as one of the most significant challenges. Also of concern is the perceived over-staffing of public service departments and legal entities of public law, especially at the local level. This report aims to provide actionable recommendations for improving the ASR environment in Georgia.

The report focuses on three principles for detecting, deterring and remedying ASR abuses in a manner commensurate with international standards. Principle 1 evaluates the legal framework for addressing three potential avenues for ASR: state personnel, state funds and physical resources, and official government communications. Principle 2 focuses on oversight of the ASR legal framework by independent institutions. Principle 3 analyzes the effective enforcement of sanctions and penalties.

The methodology applied for this assessment also acknowledges the need to account for contextual factors may impact the ASR in elections. As such, the report provides a narrative overview of challenges related to the public service framework, campaign finance framework, civil society oversight and advocacy, media environment and public information, and public procurement in Georgia.

Based on in-depth analysis of each of the areas described above, the report offers detailed recommendations to strengthen the legal framework with an emphasis on clarifying the rights and responsibilities of civil servants, ensuring that ASR sanctions and penalties achieve a deterrent effect, and clarifying mandates of oversight and enforcement bodies.