National Democratic Institute (NDI), U.S-funded non-profit, released a statement of the Virtual Elections Analysis Team on November 2, stating that alleged irregularities in final vote tallies, widespread reports of potentially intimidating behavior in or around polling stations, delays in the publication of results and persistent perceptions of pre-election abuses of power, detracted from notable improvements in the legal framework and administrative procedures for Georgia’s October 31 elections.
According to the statement, on Election Day, credible observer groups also highlighted instances of physical confrontations outside of polling stations, obstruction of the work of journalists and observers, alleged vote-buying and vote-rigging, as well as the intimidating presence of party coordinators and activists.
The statement said the government leaders and election authorities will need to take “extraordinary steps” to address the concerns that have been raised and to ensure public confidence in the election process and final results.
“Without demonstrable improvements to the electoral process, a pattern of declining public confidence in key democratic institutions will continue,” said Ambassador Derek Mitchell, President of NDI. “What
is needed is the political will to place the integrity of the process over partisan interests,” he stated.
NDI said although the legal framework provided a sound basis for the conduct of the elections, interlocutors “raised complaints on partisanship among election commissions and expressed mistrust in the complaints and appeals process.”
NDI said polarized election news coverage and limited participation in televised debates, as well as concerns about campaign financing, remained pressing issues.
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