OSCE on Georgia’s elections: “Strongly competitive and well-run”

OSCE: "Strongly competitive and well-run, yesterday’s elections offered an opportunity for voters to make informed choice." Photo by N. Alavidze/Agenda.ge
Agenda.ge, 09 Oct 2016 - 15:56, Tbilisi,Georgia

The October 8 Parliamentary Elections in Georgia were competitive, well-administered and fundamental freedoms were generally respected, says the OSCE.

International observers monitoring yesterday’s elections in Georgia presented their preliminary post-election assessment at a Tbilisi news conference this afternoon.

Strongly competitive and well-run, yesterday’s elections offered an opportunity for voters to make informed choices about their options in a pluralistic but polarised media environment,” said Ignacio Sanchez Amor, the special coordinator and leader of the short-term OSCE observer mission.
The unacceptable isolated incidents of violence we’ve seen had an impact but, thankfully, did not undermine an otherwise positive election,” he added.

The observing mission was a joint undertaking of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (OSCE/ODIHR), OSCE Parliamentary Assembly (OSCE PA), Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), NATO Parliamentary Assembly (NATO PA) and European Parliament (EP).

Assessment from NATO Parliamentary Assembly

Paolo Alli, head of the NATO PA delegation said there were "some shortcomings” in the campaign environment but he added:

"The big picture however is clear: Georgia has reaffirmed its status as the leader of democratic transformation in this region.”

"The conduct of this election is greatly encouraging for all those who support Georgia on its path towards Euro-Atlantic integration.”

Comments from OSCE Parliamentary Assembly

"As election observers, we hoped for calm, uneventful elections in which voters focus on the results rather than the process. In many respects, the elections have lived up to our expectations, with voters focusing primarily on the country’s future and getting there through competitive elections,” said Guglielmo Picchi, head of the OSCE PA delegation.

"We call for responsible behavior as the country moves forward with the second round of the elections.”

What did PACE say?

"Yesterday’s Parliamentary Eections were competitive,” said Emanuelis Zingeris, head of the PACE delegation.

Nevertheless during the pre-election period there was unacceptable behaviour directed towards candidates and voters.” 

Zingeris said that such behaviour should never happen. 

He also stressed there was a "substantial imbalance” in the funding parties were able to raise, leading to "unequal opportunities”.

"Before drawing final conclusions on the electoral process, the PACE delegation will closely follow the electoral period leading to the second round, and will wait for the results of that round in a number of majoritarian districts,” he said.

Performance of the Central Election Commission

The international observers said the election administration worked "in a timely and professional manner”, and there was "a high level of confidence in the Central Election Commission among electoral stakeholders”.

"Our long-term observation showed that fundamental rights were respected during a competitive campaign and that the election administration earned the trust and confidence of electoral stakeholders,” said Ambassador Alexandre Keltchewsky, head of the OSCE/ODIHR long-term election observation mission.

Further steps should and can be made to address remaining challenges, both in laws and in practice.”

He added there was increased trust and confidence in the accuracy of the voter lists among election stakeholders, and election commissions gave voters ample opportunity to verify their information.

Read more on the international observers conclusions in their preliminary statement released today.