Blog Posts

Did the Prime Minister Violate Law during the Festival of Shuamtoba?

On August 11, 2013, Adjara TV reported that during celebration of Shuamtoba 2013, Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili gave a diamond ring as a gift to newlywed Gundaladzes. Gifting of the ring was reported during a news program on Adjara TV and evidenced by photos published on the official Facebook page of Archil Khabadze, Chairman of Adjara Government.

The International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy believes that by giving a gift to voters the Prime Minister may have violated administrative law or criminal law, depending of the value of the gift concerned.  

If the value of the gift is below GEL 100, violation of administrative law may be involved. More specifically:

Article 252 of the organic law of Georgia on Political Unions of Citizens stipulates that “Party shall be prohibited from giving directly or indirectly financial resources, gifts and other material or non material values to a citizen of Georgia by means of a candidate, representative or any other person.” Under para.6, Article 342 of the Law, receipt of illegal gift, income, service, or property by a natural person, envisaged by this Law, when value of property (service) is under GEL 100, will result in imposition of fine ten times the value of property (service) or agreement concerned on a party, a party representative or a legal entity, and two times the value of the property (service) or agreement concerned on a natural person. 

If the value of the gift is over GEL 100, violation of criminal law may be involved.

In particular, Article 1641 of the Criminal Code of Georgia stipulates that “giving a property to a voter for election purposes in a direct or indirect manner or receipt of such property shall be punishable by deprivation of liberty for the period of up to three years or a fine.”

Violation of administrative or criminal law is found by court. We urge the State Audit Office and the office of the prosecutor of Georgia to launch an immediate probe into the alleged violation and take further legal actions.