OSCE parliamentarians will observe the upcoming parliamentary elections in Georgia

Published in Society
Saturday, 24 September 2016 12:42

Leading members of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly election observation mission to the 8 October parliamentary elections in Georgia today concluded a three-day visit to the country, noting the active participation of many parties in the campaign.

OSCE parliamentarians will observe the upcoming parliamentary elections in Georgia and provide leadership for the OSCE’s short-term observer mission.

OSCE Chairperson-in-Office Frank-Walter Steinmeier has appointed Ignacio Sanchez Amor (MP, Spain) as Special Co-ordinator to lead the short-term OSCE observer mission for the 8 October vote. Guglielmo Picchi (MP, Italy) will serve as Head of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly delegation, which will include almost 40 observers from 17 OSCE participating States.

“I’m pleased to see that Georgian politics are as active as ever, with a range of parties putting forward their platforms and competing for voters,” Special Co-ordinator Sanchez Amor said. “Almost all those we met with remarked that campaigning was more free and open than the previous parliamentary elections. I hope that this will continue, and our assessment of the elections will take close note of any developments.”

The delegation noted the active competition between parties, including political parties that have long been in politics, as well as new entrants to the political scene. While most interlocutors noted a polarized campaign environment, it was reported to be less tense than the previous parliamentary elections. The delegation took note of allegations of instances of intimidation and disruptions to campaigning, and called on all stakeholders to exercise restraint. They encouraged stakeholders to make use of official procedures for complaints and investigation of any campaign incidents.

“Everyone we met welcomed the strong atmospheric change since the 2012 elections and I hope that this opportunity for debate on the future of Georgia will be fully seized. This country has many challenges remaining, and politicians must avoid increasing tensions, and instead present real forward-looking options to the voters,” said Picchi.

They welcomed the general confidence in the work of the Central Election Commission, and stressed that observers would be closely monitoring the performance of precinct and district election commissions particularly on election day. The delegation expressed concern that sharp rhetoric about the conduct of the elections by electoral contestants might undermine public confidence in the system.

“The active and diligent work also of experienced civil society groups is an additional important contribution to the electoral process. They add crucial transparency to the process that will be helpful particularly to parties in the coming weeks and on election day. I welcome and encourage efforts to reach agreement among parties on campaign conduct, including through a code of conduct,” said Secretary General Montella.

The delegation met with the President of Georgia, members of the Central Election Commission, and with representatives from major political parties, observers from the OSCE/ODIHR, civil society representatives, as well as members of the diplomatic community in Tbilisi.

Special Co-ordinator Sanchez Amor serves as Chair of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly’s human rights committee and as Head of the Spanish Delegation to the Assembly. He has extensive experience in election observation, including having led missions in Turkey and Kyrgyzstan.

Guglielmo Picchi, who will lead the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly delegation of observers, is the Vice-Chair of the Assembly’s political affairs committee. He has observed more than 20 elections in the OSCE region.

The OSCE PA observers work closely with observers from the OSCE/ODIHR, as well as with parliamentary observers from the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly, the NATO Parliamentary Assembly and the European Parliament.

The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly previously observed parliamentary elections in Georgia in 2012, 2008, 2004, 2003, 1999 and 1995, as well as presidential elections in 2013, 2008, 2004, and 1995.

For more information about the OSCE PA's election monitoring work in Georgia, click here.

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