International Community's Assessment of October 8 Parliamentary Elections

On October 9, Georgian Foreign Minister Mikheil Janelidze held a meeting with representatives of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, NATO Parliamentary Assembly, and heads of the European Parliament Election Observation Delegation, who had come to Georgia on the invitation of the Georgian Foreign Ministry.

The sides spoke about the pre-election environment and the election process. Representatives of the international organizations emphasized that the elections were conducted in a peaceful and competitive environment and that the fundamental rights of Georgian citizens were fully observed. They added that these elections can be seen as a tremendous step towards consolidation of democracy.

Mikheil Janelidze thanked the representatives of the international community for their interest in Georgia and for their active monitoring of the processes. He added that their involvement ensured the transparency of the elections.

More than 1400 international observers from 55 organizations and institutions monitored the October 8 parliamentary elections.

The observers unanimously note that, in general, the elections were held in a peaceful and competitive environment and expressed the will of the Georgian people. According to the assessment of observers, the existing legislative framework of Georgia provides a means for the conduct of democratic elections.

The joint statement of the OSCE/ODIHR, NATO Parliamentary Assembly, Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, European Parliament and the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly emphasized that the elections were well administered and, in general, the fundamental rights of citizens were respected.

They positively assessed the accuracy of voter lists and commended the increased confidence of electoral stakeholders in this regard.

They further noted the pluralistic media environment in the country and engagement of national minorities in both proportional and majoritarian lists.

The work of the Central Election Commission at all levels was assessed as professional and timely. It was also noted that the Central Election Commission enjoyed high confidence among electoral stakeholders.

The International Republican Institute (IRI) made a special note of the growing role of women in the electoral process, including through participation in the election commissions.

Overall, the elections were evaluated as a great step forward in the process of consolidation of democracy in the country.

According to the assessment of the delegation of GUAM, the elections were free and fair and held in accordance with the OSCE and the Council of Europe standards.

Despite several incidents, the international observers, including the delegation of the National Democratic Institute (NDI), underlined that overall, these facts did not interfere with the national outcome.

According to the statement of the Head of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, with these elections Georgia has reaffirmed its status as a leader of democratic transformation in the region. He also stressed that the elections had encouraged those people who support Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic integration.

High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, and Commissioner for the European Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement, Johannes Hahn, made a joint statement regarding the parliamentary elections held in Georgia. The statement confirms the support of the European Union towards Georgia’s stable, successful and democratic future. The representatives of European Union reaffirmed their commitment to a stable, democratic and prosperous future of Georgia.

“Once the electoral process has been completed, the European Union looks forward to working with the democratically elected new Parliament and Government to deepen the political and economic relations based on the joint commitments of the EU-Georgia Association Agreement,” they said.

Meanwhile, the United States congratulated the people of Georgia on a competitive and well-administered October 8 elections which confirmed Georgia as a leader of democratic reform in the region.

“The United States looks forward to continuing our close cooperation with Georgia on a common agenda that advances Georgia’s political and economic development and its aspirations to integrate into Euro-Atlantic institutions,” US representatives said.

Minister of the Federal Republic of Germany, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, noted that, with these elections, Georgia has once again demonstrated the maturity and functionality of its young democracy. “The elections were well organized and met European standards; Georgian voters clearly showed that they continue to endorse a determined policy of rapprochement with Europe and the associated reforms in a large majority,” he said.

Foreign Office Minister of United Kingdom on Europe and Americas, Alan Duncan, congratulated the Georgian people on conducting the first round of parliamentary elections. He agreed with the assessment of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights and urged all political leaders to respect the will of the people of Georgia and demonstrate their commitment to the democratic process.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Latvia noted that the elections ensured a democratic process, were well-administered, and that political competition was present, and fundamental rights and freedoms were observed.

Along with Latvia, the government of Spain also congratulated Georgia on the holding of successful elections. They affirmed their strong will to deepen co-operation between the two countries and their support in strengthening Georgia-EU relations with the full implementation of the EU-Georgia Association Agreement.

Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania, Linas Linkevicius, also reacted to the parliamentary elections, welcoming the determination of Georgian people and the government to walk the path of a stable and functioning democracy.

A large number of the international observers are to remain in Georgia to monitor the second round of the majoritarian elections.

17 October 2016 18:24