NDI Launches Pre-election Assessment Mission in Georgia

On February 19, the National Democratic Institute (NDI) initiated its Pre-election Assessment Mission (PEAM), comprising a series of high-level meetings preceding the 2024 Georgian parliamentary elections to evaluate the electoral landscape in Georgia. The delegation held meetings with the representatives of the Government, opposition politicians, media, diplomatic corps, Central Election Commission, etc.

The PEAM delegation held its first meeting on February 20 with Shalva Papuashvili, the Speaker of Parliament. Speaker Papuashvili, joined by Nikoloz Samkharadze, Chair of the Parliament’s Foreign Relations Committee, and Givi Mikanadze, Chair of the Education, Science, and Youth Affairs Committee, deliberated with the PEAM delegation on the pre-election climate, electoral legislation, assessments and expectations of the “Georgian Dream” party concerning the elections, and the party’s pre-election strategies.

The PEAM delegation also met with representatives of the non-Parliamentary opposition parties. The opposition’s main point of discussion was the GD-initiated changes to the CEC’s staffing rules, which they said would only increase political pressure on the CEC and undermine the institution’s neutrality.

On February 21, the NDI delegation met with the Diplomatic Corps, the head of the Anti-corruption Bureau and representatives of both critical and pro-government media. The media representatives discussed Georgia’s media landscape, challenges to journalistic activity, the lack of participation in political debates by representatives of the ruling Georgian Dream party, and their refusal to grant interviews to critical media.

On February 22, the PEAM representatives held a meeting at the Central Election Commission (CEC). The Chairman of the CEC, Giorgi Kalandarishvili, briefed the delegation on the ongoing preparations for the 2024 elections, the introduction of electronic voting systems and the results of the international audit of electronic voting equipment, and large-scale voter information and education projects. Kalandarishvili emphasized that the CEC welcomes the active participation of international observation missions in the election process and is ready for constructive cooperation.

On February 23, NDI representatives met with the Prime Minister of Georgia, Irakli Kobakhidze. The meeting focused on preparations for the 2024 parliamentary elections. It was emphasized that this year marks the debut of electronic voting, counting, and registration systems.

The Prime Minister underlined the compliance with the recommendations of the OSCE/ODIHR and the Venice Commission on electoral reform. The Prime Minister stressed the Government’s commitment to ensuring free and fair elections with full international observation. The meeting also addressed the importance of the ongoing partnership between Georgia and NDI and the prospects for future co-operation.

Following the meeting with the Prime Minister, the PEAM delegation met with the President of Georgia, Salome Zurabishvili. During the meeting, the Georgian President stressed the importance of holding parliamentary elections in a democratic manner. Ann Linde, former Swedish Foreign Minister and head of the delegation, congratulated Georgia on its EU candidate status and highlighted the role of the President in this process.

The President of Georgia thanked NDI for its early monitoring of the pre-election process and emphasized the importance of the October 26 elections for the country’s European integration. Discussions during the meeting also highlighted the importance of diaspora participation in the upcoming elections, potential hybrid threats from Russia, and increasing women’s political participation and addressing the obstacles they face.

“The President of Georgia provided the international monitoring mission with comprehensive information on her initiative to create a charter aimed at reaching an agreement on the European future and the main priorities of the country,” – reports the President’s administration.

The PEAM delegation will meet party representatives, government officials, as well as representatives of civil society, media and the international community on February 19-23. After completing its analysis, the delegation will release a statement of findings and recommendations. These meetings mark the initial phase of NDI’s broader observation, which encompasses a second PEAM, long-term analysis, and an election day delegation.

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This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)


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