MEPs on EU-Georgia relations from the European Parliament have congratulated Georgia, 'a key ally of the EU', on 'successfully' organising the first round of the parliamentary elections held on October 31 in Georgia despite ‘the difficult epidemiological context'.
We take note that these elections were found to be competitive and freedoms were respected overall, despite deplorable cases of pressure on voters and blurring of the line between the ruling party and the State throughout the campaign and on election day", read the joint statement released by the MEPs.
David McAllister (EPP, Germany), Chair of the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee posted on Twitter:
We would like to congratulate ???????? Georgia, a key ally of the ???????? EU, on successfully organising the first round of the parliamentary elections despite a difficult epidemiological context. https://t.co/gLAqWJvh0d— davidmcallister (@davidmcallister) November 1, 2020
The statement reads that candidates were able to campaign freely, 'giving voters a genuine choice between a variety of platforms'. Also, the MEPs said that the media and political landscapes are still highly polarised, which was consequently reflected by 'harsh rhetoric on all sides, albeit to a lesser extent than in the run-up to the 2018 presidential election, which is a positive development'.
Marina Kaljurand (S&D, Estonia), Chair of the European Parliament’s delegation for relations with the South Caucasus posted on Twitter:
We would like to congratulate Georgia, a key ally of the EU, on successfully organising the first round of the parliamentary elections despite a difficult epidemiological context. @davidmcallister https://t.co/UhlfhbSsoN— Marina Kaljurand MEP (@MarinaKaljurand) November 1, 2020
The MEPs said they appreciate that 'pragmatic solutions' were found to allow quarantined and self-isolated citizens to cast their ballots in special polling stations, 'which was a fair compromise between democratic and public health requirements'.
We very much deplore that citizens in the occupied regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali/South Ossetia were once again deprived of their right to vote", reads the statement.
Viola von Cramon-Taubadel (The Greens/EFA, Germany), the European Parliament’s lead member for democracy support activities in Georgia posted on Twitter:
????????Closely following #Georgia Elections. While competitive and generally free, regrettable to see cases of pressuring voters. Unequal access to administrative & particularly financial resources undermines democracy. Parties should remain calm & peaceful. ????????EU stands with ????????People!— Viola von Cramon (@ViolavonCramon) November 1, 2020
Ahead of a second round of voting in several constituencies, the MEPs call for calm.
All possible appeals and complaints, substantiated with necessary details and some element of proof, should be handled in a fair, transparent and rigorous manner", reads the statement.
The statement also reads that the European Parliament will remain attentive to further developments during the rest of the electoral period, including on the day of the second round.
"We look forward to further cooperating with the newly elected parliament on Georgia’s chosen Euro-Atlantic integration path”, reads the statement.