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Send Election Observers – Saakashvili Tells OSCE

President Mikheil Saakashvili has urged the OSCE and other international organizations to send “hundreds and, if necessary, thousands of observers” to monitor presidential polls expected for January 5.

He was speaking at a meeting with the new head of the OSCE mission in Georgia, Terhi Hakala. His opening remarks were aired live on Georgian television.

Below is a full transcript of President Saakashvili’s statement:

I am glad that the OSCE mission in Georgia has a new head and it is very important for me to maintain good cooperation between us.

Presidential elections will be held on January 5 and it is extremely important for us that the OSCE – the most important European election watchdog organization – send hundreds and, if necessary, thousands of observers to Georgia. Our people, with their dignity, restraint and democracy, will prove to the entire world that we are an exceptional European nation; and it will happen against a background of efforts to portray Georgia as an unstable country, where elections are not held in a normal way and where there are no democratic processes.

We need your help for this reason. Bring your observers here in advance so that they can observe the opportunities afforded to the opposition to hold a pre-election campaign, particularly in terms of mass media and how the opposition is given the opportunity to exercise their policies.

We are not creating any problems for any [presidential] candidate, even in terms of criminal proceedings – although some of them may have some problems with the law; instead, we have made it clear that no one will face any criminal proceedings and no one will have any restrictions. The Georgian people themselves will make a choice and no one will be able to derail us from the main course of our progress.

We need support and advice, as well as the presence and participation of the OSCE and other international organizations for this purpose, because there might be some problems without your involvement. So come and participate, observe, ask questions and we will respond to all of your questions. And most importantly, the Georgian people will respond to the entire world during the January 5 [presidential] elections.


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