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Key Watchdogs on GD, Citizens’ Draft Electoral Amendments

On March 16, ISFED and TI Georgia, key local election watchdogs said in their joint assessment of the draft election amendments, initiated earlier in March after the ruling Georgian Dream party and the Citizens’ agreement, that proposed changes left some persisting issues unaddressed.

International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED) and Transparency International (TI) Georgia said that as per the bill, the boycotting opposition parties will remain unable to nominate members to the election administrations, as the amendments envisage that only parties who have at least one active MP and receive state funding are allowed be represented at the election commissions.

Albeit welcoming the prohibitions on civil servants’ participation in election campaigns, the watchdogs highlighted that Deputy Ministers, as well as Governors, must also be limited in their capacities to agitate. Moreover, ISFED and TI Georgia recommend the proposed legislation to categorize agitation by civil servants on social media as election campaigning as well.

The report also recommended various measures to streamline the election appeal process, including extending deadlines and allowing observers to file complaints online.

ISFED and TI Georgia, along with other local CSOs, international organizations, and CEC representatives participated in the parliamentary electoral working group, established in early February, to work on the electoral reforms envisaged by the memorandum signed between the ruling Georgian Dream and opposition Citizens parties. As per the agreement, the Parliament shall endorse the reforms on May 1 at the latest.

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