Georgia’s presidential election on October 27 was “efficiently administered, transparent and took place in an amicable and constructive environment,” preliminary conclusions of international election observers says.
The preliminary report represents findings of observers from OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR); the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly (OSCE PA); the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE); the European Parliament and the NATO Parliamentary Assembly (NATO PA).
“This clean election following a political cohabitation tells me that Georgia's democracy is maturing,” João Soares, the special coordinator who led the short-term OSCE observer mission, said.
“Essentially, what we observed yesterday was a European election,” Head of the NATO PA delegation, Mati Raidma, said.
“The Georgian people can be proud of the democratic steps they have made,” said Ilkka Kanerva, head of the OSCE PA delegation. “I encourage the country and all the political and civil society actors to use this important progress to continue moving forward, without dwelling on the past.”
"Just one year after the parliamentary elections, Georgia's citizens have again demonstrated their political maturity in this presidential election,” said Meritxell Mateu Pi, head of the PACE delegation. “These elections are an important achievement for the country and for the entire South Caucasus region.”
“Over the past six weeks, we have observed a competitive, transparent and well-administered election, in which both the authorities and the opposition played positive roles,” said Matteo Mecacci, Head of the OSCE/ODIHR long-term election observation mission. “This type of process, where all those involved, including a viable opposition, play their proper roles is essential for the consolidation of democratic institutions.”
Head of the European Parliament delegation, Krzysztof Lisek, said the election was important also in the context of upcoming Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius, where Georgia is expected to initial the Association Agreement with the EU. But echoing to the European Parliament’s resolution, MEP Lisek from the EPP group also said the actual signing of the Association Agreement “should be conditioned on tangible progress in the area of rule of law and democracy.”
According to the preliminary conclusions the campaign environment in lead up to the voting day “was without major irregularities” and on the election day, voters were able to express their choice freely.
It says that the campaign, which was notably less polarized than last year’s parliamentary elections, was negatively impacted by allegations of political pressure, including on UNM representatives in local-self government bodies. Although the campaign gradually evolved from confrontation between PM Ivanishvili and outgoing President Saakashvili to a competition among the main candidates, according to the report, “personality politics continued to dominate the public debate throughout the campaign.”
“Election day was assessed as professional and transparent overall. The assessment of opening, voting, counting, and tabulation by international observers was positive,” reads the report. “Procedures were largely followed and international observers noted a high level of transparency throughout the day.”
Observers assessed in overall positively voting process, but also noted problems related with overcrowding of some precincts “due to the high number of citizen observers and candidate and party representatives present, often with multiple representatives in the polling station at the same time.”
The report says that registration of presidential candidates was carried out in “a transparent and inclusive manner”, but it also says that rejection to register several applicants on the grounds of dual citizenship “could be considered restrictive and not in keeping with international good practice.”