US Embassy welcomes ‘competitive’ Georgian elections, laments ‘deficiencies’

  • US Ambassador Kelly Degnan (pictured right) observed the elections in Marneuli and worked with non-governmental organisations involved in monitoring the vote. Photo via US Embassy in Georgia., 1 Nov 2020 - 19:24, Tbilisi,Georgia

The United States Embassy in Georgia has welcomed 'competitive' parliamentary elections in the country and applauded citizens for their turnout against the backdrop of the pandemic, while also pointing out 'deficiencies' in the process that require resolution by the authorities.

The diplomatic representation released its reaction to the October 31 vote on Sunday, sharing OSCE/ODIHR monitors' initial assessment of the process that said the elections were "competitive and, [in which] overall, fundamental freedoms were respected" in the process that saw voter turnout of over 56 percent in the early data.

However the embassy's reaction also noted "pervasive allegations of pressure on voters and blurring of the line between the ruling party and the state" that "reduced public confidence in some aspects of the process."

The flaws were "not sufficient to invalidate the results" of the voting but were "unacceptable", the release pointed out.

Voters' and parties' use of "existing legal procedures" for filing formal complaints to relevant bodies was also welcomed by the diplomatic office, which called on authorities to resolve "credible complaints in a fair, transparent, and timely manner".

The embassy highlighted Georgian citizens' "dedication to democracy even amidst the COVID-19 pandemic" in their poise to cast choices at polling stations, and also said electoral reforms adopted ahead of the elections had "addressed some of the flaws identified with previous elections".