NewsPresidentials 2018

International Observers: Elections were Competitive, Professionally Administered

The October 28 presidential election was “competitive and professionally administered,” with the Election Day generally held “in a professional, orderly and transparent manner,” according to the preliminary post-election statement of five international organizations.

The joint statement is the result of a common endeavor involving the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly (OSCE PA), the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), the NATO Parliamentary Assembly (NATO PA) and the European Parliament (EP).

The organizations noted in their assessment that “candidates were able to campaign freely and voters had a genuine choice,” but there were instances of misuse of administrative resources, and senior state officials from the ruling party were involved in the campaign.”

Further on the campaign issue, the observation missions said “fundamental freedoms were generally respected and contestants were able to campaign freely,” but OSCE/ODIHR “observed several disruptions of campaign events and multiple instances of vandalized party offices or campaign materials.”

According to the international observers, the Election Day proceeded in “a professional, orderly and transparent manner,” but the presence of a large number of party supporters at polling stations, “raised concerns about the ability of voters to vote free from pressure and fear of retribution.”

The organizations also highlighted that while media outlets provided all candidates a platform to present their views, “the sharp polarization of the private media, negative campaigning and harsh rhetoric, and lack of analytical reporting” limited the ability of voters “to make a fully informed choice.”

The organizations assessed the candidate finance issue as well, noting that the “substantial imbalance” in donations and “excessively high spending” contributed to “an uneven playing field.”

“In this election, Georgia showed the maturity of its democracy. This further raises expectations. Therefore, while praising the achievements, it is important to be aware of the shortcomings related to the campaign environment, finances and the legal environment in general,” said Kristian Vigenin, leader of the short-term OSCE observer mission.

“We hope that the Georgian people will actively participate in the second round and that the outcome will fully reflect their will,” he also noted.

The International Election Observation Mission comprises some 400 observers from 40 countries, including 284 long- and short-term observers deployed by ODIHR, 54 parliamentarians and staff from the OSCE PA, 31 from PACE, 17 from the NATO PA and 12 from the EP. The organizations will issue their final reports individually.

This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)


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