CoE Criticizes Disorganized Locals

(Tbilisi, June 4, Civil Georgia) – The delegation of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe (CLRAE), which observed the local election, noted with regret that the hopes for a fair electoral process were dampened by inappropriate preparations and questionable decisions by the authorities, CoE press service reports.

“The CLRAE delegation is disappointed that the democratic process in Georgia has so far failed to match the people’s aspirations. The people of Georgia deserve better,” said Louis Roppe, leader of the observer delegation, at the news briefing in Tbilisi on June 3.

On election day, June 2, CLRAE delegation visited numerous polling stations in Tbilisi and other municipalities, and observed the counting process.

The observers were shocked by the deplorable state of the voters’ lists and the unavailability of basic election material as late as the day before elections, CoE reports.

Louis Roppe said at the news briefing that local authorities in Georgia continue to lack power or competencies, and are controlled by governors – “gamgebelis” in the rayons (provincial districs), or “mayors” in the towns of Tbilisi and Poti – appointed by the central authorities.

Chaotic scenes inside and around polling stations, the presence of armed policemen, the theft of ballot papers by an armed group in Rustavi only added to the observers’ frustration.

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