Int'l observers: parliamentary elections were competitive, fundamental freedoms were respected

The international observers said 'the voting process was transparent and procedures were mostly followed’ in the polling stations visited. Photo: Nino Alavidze/, 01 Nov 2020 - 17:11, Tbilisi,Georgia

“Georgia’s parliamentary elections were competitive and, overall, fundamental freedoms were respected”, the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) said in its preliminary statement today. 

The OSCE/ODIHR meanwhile noted that, nevertheless, ‘pervasive allegations of pressure on voters and blurring of the line between the ruling party and the state reduced public confidence in some aspects of the process’.

Although the mission members visited a limited number of polling stations in 28 of the 64 municipalities,‘the voting process was transparent and procedures were mostly followed’ in the polling stations visited.

The competitive nature of yesterday’s elections was, unfortunately, undermined by the pervasive allegations we heard of the intimidation of voters, both in the lead up to and on election day, and of the blurring of the line between state and party during the campaign,” the head of the OSCE/ODIHR election observation mission Jillian Stirk said at a press conference in Tbilisi today.

Head of the delegation from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) Tiny Kox gave a nod to ‘all the brave Georgian voters who cast their votes in yesterday’s elections, despite the risk COVID might cause to them when visiting a polling station’. 

To challenge immediately the results after the elections is not the best signal of a mature democracy, Tiny Kox later said during the Q&A session.

He then noted that he would ‘urge all parties to first see what the results are of the elections, then overlook them, then if needed to use the possibilities that there are to complain and then to come to conclusion what the results of this elections are’. 

But challenging them on a same day as this elections have taken place is not the sign of a mature democracy and calling for rallies on the day of the elections and after the elections is in my humble opinion also not the best sign that you respect the decision of your voters, which came in larger proportion than four years ago to the bullet boxes under this difficult circumstances”, he said.

He meanwhile called on the Georgian politicians and the new Georgian parliament to meet as soon as possible the PACE’s ‘persistent recommendations to improve the legal framework regarding oversight of campaigns’.

While acknowledging that these parliamentary elections were generally free, he said the PACE representatives 'do pity' that Georgia 'still lacks clear rules on abundant and unlimited campaign spending, this negatively affects the fairness of your elections'.