European Union and United States welcomed the preliminary conclusions of the OSCE/ODIHR Election Observation Mission that Georgia’s presidential runoff “was competitive and candidates were able to campaign freely.” However, they “note with concern instances of misuse of administrative resources, undue pressure on voters and intimidation.”
“We regret the overall negative campaigning, the sharp polarization of the media and the lack of analytical reporting,” EU Ambassador to Georgia Carl Hartzell told reporters on November 29, summing up conclusions from the meeting with Ambassadors of EU Member States and U.S. Chargé d’Affaires.
“We condemn all acts of violence, threats of violence and hate speech during the campaign, which do not belong in a democratic society,” Hartzell said, urging that “investigations need to be carried out into reported irregularities and acts of violence.”
“Such incidents are at odds with Georgian authorities’ commitment to a fully fair and transparent election, and we encourage Georgian institutions to address shortcomings raised by OSCE and other observers, with a view to improving the framework for future elections,” he noted.
Urging to “look beyond these elections,” the foreign diplomats believe “it is in Georgia’s national interest for its people to come together in reconciliation; recalling that what unites this population is so much stronger and powerful than what can ever divide it.”
Extending their congratulations to Salome Zurabishvili on her election as President, foreign diplomats look forward to cooperate closely with her in the future, stressing that EU and U.S. “as strong partners and friends of Georgia, stand ready to assist and advance further our partnerships. But from high ambitions follow high standards.”
United States also welcomed assessments of the international observers and shared their concerns. “We urge Georgian authorities to address the shortcomings raised by OSCE/ODIHR and other observers, and we are prepared to assist in these efforts,” U.S. Embassy to Georgia said in its separate statement on November 30.