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EU Delegation on October 2 Elections

In its statement on October 2 local elections in Georgia, the EU Delegation to Georgia, along with Member States’ Embassies seconded preliminary findings of international observers, that while “the elections were generally well administered [and] that contestants were able to campaign freely in a competitive environment, and that the Election Day proceeded in an orderly and transparent manner,” there were “widespread and consistent allegations of intimidation, vote-buying, pressure on candidates and voters and an unlevel playing field.”

The October 3 statement noted with satisfaction that the electoral changes adopted prior to the elections “substantially improved” the legal framework.

The joint missive said, however, that “it will be important to address, in an inclusive manner, all outstanding ODIHR recommendations, including those related to limitations on voting rights, some aspects of electoral dispute resolution, and further measures to counter the misuse of state resources.”

“A genuine reform of the Judiciary is indispensable to increase trust also in the handling of electoral complaints,” it highlighted, also adding that “the current polarization continues to have a negative effect on Georgia’s democracy – all parties have a responsibility to address this.”

Speaking of the second round of electons, slated for October 30, the statement called on the Georgian authorities and all the political parties “to urgently make additional efforts to ensure a fair electoral process.”

“The reported malpractices must not become a norm. We also expect credible and swift investigations of all complaints, including reported intimidation and violence against journalists,” noted the statement by the EU Delegation and Embassies of EU Member States in Georgia.

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