TI Georgia urges gov’t to start discussions on how to hold upcoming elections safely

 Georgia will hold parliamentary elections at the end of October. Photo: Nino Alavidze/Agenda.ge.


Agenda.ge, 06 May 2020 - 13:13, Tbilisi,Georgia

Transparency International Georgia has urged the Georgian Dream government to start discussions as to how to hold the upcoming parliamentary elections in the autumn in a safe environment amid coronavirus-related restrictions. 

The NGO says that although epidemiologists predict that the scale of the pandemic and the threat posed by it will be significantly reduced by October, it is likely that some limitations may still remain. 

Given Georgia's context, many alternative methods of voting will not work because it will not have the trust of political parties and the public,” TI Georgia says. 

The NGO stated that given the lack of alternative methods it is necessary to:

  • Start working, with the involvement of epidemiologists, election administration, political parties and civil society organisations, on all possible scenarios to determine appropriate measures to ensure a safe environment for elections.
  • Develop appropriate normative acts for holding elections in the conditions of temporary restrictions, where specific regulations will be written so that it is technically possible to organise all the necessary procedures.
  • If necessary, provide appropriate equipment and technical facilities to create a safe environment for the health of the election administration and voters in the face of restrictions. The members of the election commissions should also be retrained.
  • In the conditions of restrictions, the rules of election observation should be developed.

The ruling party says that there are ready for discussions. Photo: Georgian Dream press office.

The ruling party says that it is ready to participate in the discussions. 

It is impossible to exactly know what to happen. However, we are optimistic, based on predictions, that 31 October elections will be held in a regular manner. However, anyway, for prevention, we are ready for discussions,” Executive Secretary of Georgian Dream Irakli Kobakhidze says. 

Kobakhidze stated that offering electronic voting will be impossible by the time of elections, but ‘we are ready to discuss other mechanisms offered by the NGO.’ 

He said that parliament will be able to pass all election-related bills in the summer, either in June or in July, including the amendments which were agreed with the opposition in early March. 

Thus, there will be no problems for holding the elections in line with high standards,” Kobakhidze said. 

The opposition is accusing the government of using the pandemic for its own interests and ‘unreasonable expansion of various restrictions to hold the elections in the way they wish.’