NDI calls Georgia’s municipal elections ‘an opportunity,’ offers recommendations

NDI says that they support Georgia’s democratic aspirations and the recommendations have been made in the spirit of partnership. Photo: Nino Alavidze/Agenda.ge.

Agenda.ge, 09 Sep 2021 - 16:14, Tbilisi,Georgia

The National Democratic Institute (NDI) has offered recommendations ahead of the October 2 municipal elections to ‘help the country’ maintain its 30-year progress and leadership in the region for its commitment to Euro-Atlantic values. 

The recommendations come on the heels of a series of online, high-level meetings of NDI top figures, including its chair Madeleine Albright, with Georgian political parties, government officials, civil society and local media representatives. 

The recommendations say that all stakeholders should respect the rights of election observers and media organisations to conduct their oversight functions without harassment or obstruction.

NDI says that authorities should conduct a ‘swift, thorough, and unbiased investigation’ into and ‘timely prosecution’ of alleged cases of violence, intimidation, and vote buying. 

The other recommendations are as follows: 

  • Electoral authorities should make extra efforts to ‘swiftly and properly’ adjudicate submitted electoral complaints and conduct appropriate subsequent action.
  • All party supporters must refrain from political violence and intimidation. 
  • Political parties should run issue-based, citizen-focused campaigns and take all opportunities provided by broadcasters to engage in debate and present their policy agendas to the public. 
  • All political parties should participate in the political process before, during and after the elections and commit themselves to establishing constructive dialogue to implement reforms in line with the spirit of the April 19 agreement.

NDI says that a ‘protracted political crisis’ and recent attacks on civil society and media raised concerns among the Georgian public and international community about the Georgian government’s continued commitment to a democratic, Euro-Atlantic path. 

It said that the upcoming elections provide an opportunity for Georgia’s political leaders to demonstrate their commitment to the democratic path by adhering to democratic principles and focusing on the political and economic priorities of its citizens.