A group of twelve Georgian civil society organizations, including the TI Georgia and ISFED, issued a joint statement on May 17, calling on all political stakeholders to refrain from aggression ahead of the upcoming by-elections.
The organizations said the pre-election environment has extremely deteriorated in the past week, particularly in Zugdidi, which saw a number of incidents by and against members of the United National Movement.
“It is important that all candidates are allowed to carry out their election campaigns in a peaceful environment and that voters’ right to free expression is not infringed upon,” reads their statement.
The CSOs also said the political parties have mobilized several thousand activists for the elections, which – they believe – increases the risk of physical confrontation between opposing sides.
“We call on all political forces to refrain from aggression and confrontation so that the electoral process is not hampered,” the organizations also noted, calling on the law enforcement agencies to maintain order “in observance of political neutrality.”