The European People’s Party has said October 2 local elections in Georgia have raised “concerns over the state of democracy and freedom in the country.”
In a statement released on October 6, the EPP said “reports of international observers underlined reduced democratic standards, a lack of free and fair election environment, an uneven playing field, misuse of administrative resources, violations and hate speech.”
The statement added that the October 1 arrest and “political persecution” of former President of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili, “further increases the tensions and political polarisation” in Georgia.
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The EPP also said recent “intolerant and provocative” remarks by ruling Georgian Dream party leaders highlight “the politically motivated justice in Georgia, which remains our deep concern.”
The statement called on the Government of Georgia to guarantee free and fair elections in the second round and “to stop the persecution of political opponents.”
“We will closely monitor the second round, where the fate of the big cities will be decided. The Georgian people deserve a better future, with the end of political confrontation and the return to a constructive agenda,” EPP concluded.
The United National Movement, the party of former President Mikheil Saakashvili, has been observer member of EPP since September 2008.