US State Department congratulates Georgia on successful elections

US calls on involved parties to continue on constructive negotiations for trengthening democratic and economic development./Photo: Reuters, 12 Oct 2016 - 14:34, Tbilisi,Georgia

The United States (US) is congratulating Georgia for hosting competitive and well-administrated Parliamentary Elections on October 8 that largely respected fundamental freedoms.

A respective statement was made by US State Department spokesman John Kirby yesterday.

The United States congratulates Georgia on competitive and well-administrated October 8 elections that largely respected fundamental freedoms, as assessed by the OSCE’s Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights,” Kirby said.
We also note that Election Day proceeded in an orderly manner but regret that tension increased during the day and several violent incidents took place in polling stations.”

The US State Department said it "strongly condemned these isolated cases of violence and intimidation”, as well as those that occurred in the pre-election period.

The US urged a thorough and balanced investigation of all incidents.

We urge all parties and their supporters to approach the runoff contests in a calm and peaceful manner and to address any election concerns in accordance with Georgian law,” Kirby said.

He added the US would continue to monitor the ongoing election process closely, including the campaigning to come and the runoff elections.

US experts: "Georgia’s achieving tremendous success”

A group of American experts gathered yesterday at the Washington-based research think tank Heritage Foundation to discuss what lessons were learned from the Georgian elections.

Luke Coffey, a researcher from the Heritage Foundation said Georgia had held free and fair elections several times already and NATO needed to consider this in its future partnership with Georgia.

"NATO has repeatedly, in its Summit declarations, said that George's next step of advancement towards eventual NATO membership would depend on their next election,” he said.

We've had a succession of free and fair elections in Georgia. Now I have to ask you know, how long can NATO continue to use this excuse as a cop-out to fully bringing Georgia as an eventual NATO member?”
I think it would be ridiculous at the next NATO Summit for NATO to issue this declaration that will [say] all progress will depend on the next elections, because at this point they've had free and fair elections several times.”

Ariel Cohen from the Atlantic Council talked about the recent progress Georgia has made.

"That country is achieving a tremendous success,” he said.

It's achieving it in being democratic, conducting elections to recognition and acknowledgement of the international community, continuing economic growth in a very problematic era in a very problematic region and remaining a staunch ally of the United States.”

He added the US had a "diminishing list of allies these days” and it could not afford to lose an important ally in an important region bordering Russia, Iran and Turkey.

Watch the full discussion here.