CoE on Georgian municipal poll: election day calm, transparent, political environment ‘very polarised’

CoE says that the October 2 elections in Georgia was a missed opportunity for local democracy. Photo: Nino Alavidze/, 04 Oct 2021 - 15:30, Tbilisi,Georgia

The Council of Europe's Congress of Local and Regional Authorities, which observed the recent municipal elections in Georgia between September 29 and October 3, says that the election day on October 2 was ‘overall calm, orderly, transparent and well organised without major shortcomings.’ 

However, David Eray, head of the delegation composed of 18 members from 15 Council of Europe countries, said that the political environment in the country is ‘externally polarised’ and pointed at an increase in verbal aggression, hate speech and fake news on social media during the election campaign.

This polarisation had a paralysing effect on local democracy which, in fact, has been taken hostage by the overall national political situation. Against this background, this poll was a missed opportunity for local democracy in Georgia”, Eray said.

He said that new regulations, to increase the number of women on candidate lists by placing at least one in every three candidates of the opposite gender on the ballot, ‘proved insufficient as women were almost always placed as the third, sixth or ninth candidate, thus having much lower chances to get elected than their male counterparts.’ 

CoE mission observed elections in nine regions of Georgia, visiting in total some 120 polling stations from the opening until the closing.