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CoE Secretary General Urges for Fair Elections

Visiting Secretary General of the Council of Europe (CoE) Walter Schwimmer called the Georgian government for taking all the measures to secure free and fair parliamentary elections, scheduled for March 28.

He recommended on February 18 that reduction of 7% threshold, necessary for securing seats in the Parliament, to 5%, in order to avoid single-party legislative body without the opposition.

Walter Schwimmer also urged the Georgian government to secure political balance in the election administrations. At the moment the election commission at all levels are composed mostly by the representatives of the current authorities.

President Saakashvili expressed readiness to give up the government’s two seats in the lower level election commissions in favor of the opposition parties, but refused to do so in regard to the 15-member Central Election Commission, where the government controls 8 seats.

The CoE Secretary General also said that the constitutional amendments, which boost the presidential power, were adopted hastily and not every recommendation of the Venice Commission of Council of Europe were taken into consideration by the government.

Council of Europe Secretary General Walter Schwimmer is visiting Georgia on February 18-21.

During the visit the Secretary General will hold meetings with the Georgian Government, Parliament, leaders of the opposition parties, NGOs and the diplomatic corps accredited to Georgia.

On 20 February Walter Schwimmer will visit the Autonomous Republic of Adjara and hold meetings with Adjarian leader Aslan Abashidze.

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