EU rejects election results in Georgian region of Abkhazia
On 23 March, the EU issued a statement in reaction to the presidential elections in the Georgian breakaway region of Abkhazia.
“The European Union supports the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Georgia, as recognised by international law,” the statement said. “With regard to the so-called presidential elections that took place in the Georgian breakaway region of Abkhazia on 22 March 2020, we recall that the European Union does not recognise the constitutional and legal framework in which they took place.”
The EU added that it will continue to pursue its policy of non-recognition and engagement, and the EU Special Representative for the South Caucasus and the crisis in Georgia will remain fully mobilised in this regard.
Public Defender’s Statement on Necessity of Holding Talks to Resolve Political Crisis
The Public Defender of Georgia calls on both the ruling party and the opposition parties participating in the elections to immediately launch negotiations in order to find a way out of the political crisis caused by the election violations.
The Public Defender, as a constitutional body supervising the protection of the right to vote in the country, considers that apart from the violent incidents that took place during the October 31 elections, use of administrative resources, control of the will of voters on the election day, and attacks on observers and representatives of the media, serious problems were observed in the process of counting votes and summing up the results. Unfortunately, the election commissions did not respond properly to the substantive violations detected in the summary protocols during consideration of complaints, which deepened public outcry and distrust in the election process.
The shortcomings identified during the October 31 elections have created a political crisis in the country. The situation is further aggravated by the severe epidemiological situation and economic crisis caused by the global pandemic. Therefore, it is important to hold negotiations with all election entities in order to agree on a common legal and political solution. It is necessary to find ways to recount the results of disputed polling stations in a transparent manner and to ensure the fair conduct of the second round.
In view of the above, we call on the ruling and opposition parties to start negotiations as soon as possible and agree on an appropriate format in order to find a way out of the crisis. At the same time, the involvement of Georgia's strategic partners as well as independent monitoring organizations should be ensured to monitor and facilitate the process.
Azerbaijan and Turkey were among the countries that supported Georgia in the UN
On September 3, the UN General Assembly adopted the resolution entitled “Status of Internally Displaced Persons and Refugees from Abkhazia, Georgia and the Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia, Georgia”. As Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia noted, this year the document had unprecedented support – has been supported by 84 member states, only 13 opposed. Georgian President Salome Zourabichvili expressed her gratitude to all 84 countries that have stood next to Georgia this year.
It is noteworthy that our neighboring Azerbaijan and Turkey have once again expressed support for Georgia, joining the global call to ensure the observance of the rights of the Georgian population expelled from Abkhazia and Samachablo. With Russia's position, everything is clear. But Armenia acted in a very non-trivial way – it did not take part in the voting. It is difficult to imagine that the immediate neighbor of our country, who assures of friendship in the course of bilateral contacts, is poorly informed about the state of affairs of internally displaced persons in Georgia. However, Yerevan has avoided expressing a clear position on this issue.
Twelve years have passed since Russia invaded the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia
Twelve years have passed since Russia invaded the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. August 7 is a somber reminder of the thousands who have suffered and continue to suffer in the wake of Russia’s invasion. Today, we remember residents forced out of their homes and forced to live as internally displaced persons. We remember innocent civilians who died because the de facto authorities closed the Administrative Boundary Lines (ABL) and denied them access to emergency medical care. We remember families torn apart and robbed of their livelihoods by illegal “borderization” activities. As the whole world grapples with the effects of COVID-19, Georgia also suffers from the loss of trade between communities now cut off by arbitrary lines, further hampering economic recovery.
In the past year, we also witnessed a major Russian-led incursion, attempting to control hundreds of meters of additional Georgian territory at Chorchana-Tsnelisi. Russia continues to violate the conditions of the 2008 ceasefire agreement. Russian “border” guards detain civilians and use violence along the ABL, including recently shooting a Georgian citizen. Russian-led security forces continue to encroach deeper into Georgian territory, trying to expand the occupied territories meter by meter.
Russia’s responsibilities under the 2008 ceasefire agreement are clear: Russia must withdraw its forces to pre-conflict positions and allow unfettered access for the delivery of humanitarian assistance. We also call again on Russia to reverse its recognition of the so-called independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. It is essential for hundreds of thousands of IDPs and refugees to be able to return safely and with dignity to their homes. The United States' commitment to our friends and partners in Georgia remains steadfast. We stand with the people of Georgia and join them in calling for these communities, divided by Russian aggression, to be united once again.
US Embassy Tbilisi, Georgia
President Salome Zourabichvili – NATO Open Door Policy is the Cornerstone for NATO-Georgia Relationship
President of Georgia Salome Zourabichvili hosted the NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, as part of his official visit to Georgia.
The President of Georgia expressed her gratitude to Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg for visiting Georgia and stated that it is a pleasant and respectful fact to see Georgia and NATO hosting together NATO-led military exercises, an important message manifesting the level of our confidence-based relationship.
“The path that we follow is a very important sign for Georgia’s population - this path is irreversible and there is no alternative. Everything is done on our side, including military and political reforms, to strongly keep this path.
“NATO’s Open Door Policy is the cornerstone for the NATO-Georgia Partnership. This policy continues, especially following the accession of North Macedonia - an important step,” said the President of Georgia.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg stated that Georgia is an extremely valuable partner and the door is open for Georgia.
NATO continues to support Georgia and urges the Russian Federation to withdraw its forces from the Tskhinvali region and Abkhazia.
“Madam President, it is really great to be back and meet you again. We last met in Brussels and now here in Tbilisi; that shows strength and high-level of partnership activities that we now have between Georgia and NATO.
“Georgia is a highly valued partner of NATO. Today, I have visited the Joint Training Center where we now are conducting joint exercises - Georgia and the several NATO allies and some partners.
“It shows that Georgian soldiers and the NATO soldiers are able to operate side-by-side and work together. And, I am extremely grateful for Georgia’s contributions in our shared security.
“Georgia is a part of NATO Response Force. Georgia contributes in our mission in Afghanistan and by working so closely together, we are strengthening the security of NATO allies and also helping you. This is something which is in the interest of both Georgia and NATO.
“Georgia is really a unique partner. We welcome the progress you are making, the reforms you are implementing, and we urge you to continue on that path of reforms.
“NATO leaders have stated again and again that Georgia will become the member of the Alliance. I was present at NATO Summit in Bucharest in 2008, where we stated that for the first time. But, we made the same statement, Georgia will become the member of Alliance, after the NATO Summit in July in Brussels last year.
“We will continue to support you as you walk towards membership and we, of course, also recognize and strongly support the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Georgia. And, therefore we call on Russia to withdraw its forces from South Ossetia and Abkhazia and its recognition of these territories because they are part of Georgia within Georgia’s internationally recognized borders.”
The meeting was attended by Georgia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Davit Zalkaliani, Minister of Defense Levan Izoria, Chief of Georgian Defense Forces Vladimer Chachibaia, Head of Presidential Administration Lasha Zhvania, Head of the Georgian Mission to NATO Alexandre Maisuradze, and Deputy Head of the Presidential Administration Ketevan Makharashvili. From the North Atlantic Alliance’s side, the meeting was attended by Deputy Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs and Security Policy and NATO Secretary-General’s Special Representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia James Appathurai, Military Assistant to the Secretary-General Gjermund Eide, Head of NATO’s Liaison Office in Georgia Rosaria Puglisi, Officer of the Euro-Atlantic and Global Partnership at the Political Affairs and Security Policy Division Steffen Elgersma, and Deputy Spokesperson Piers Cazalet.
Preliminary Results of Presidential Election of Georgia According to 3 702 Electoral Precincts
Ana Mikeladze Spokesperson of the Central Election Commission (CEC) of Georgia presented preliminary results of the Presidential Election to the public according to 3 702 electoral precincts.
“As of now, data of almost all 3702 electoral precincts is counted and summary protocols are available on the CEC website. Vote counting procedures are underway in three polling stations in the United States of America at this moment ", stated Ana Mikeladze.
The preliminary results of the Second Round of Presidential Election of Georgia are as follows:
№5 Grigol Vashadze - 40.46%, (779 614 votes)
№48 Salome Zourabichvili - 59.54%, (1 147 106 votes)
With reference to preliminary results of elections abroad, including polling stations opened in Afghanistan, out of 57 electoral precincts, votes of 54 electoral precincts are counted, and the votes received are as follows:
№5 Grigol Vashadze - 64. 27 %, (5 216 votes)
№48 Salome Zourabichvili - 35.73%, (2 900 votes)
“It is noteworthy that the second round is distinguished by high voter turnout. Vote counting process went in the polling stations according to the law. Proxies of electoral subjects and observers were able to freely to monitor the vote counting process. Following the drawing up summary protocols and completion of all official procedures at electoral precinct envisaged by the law, protocols were being passed to the District Election Commission (DECs). DECs were uploading summary protocols in earliest possible time into a special program.
By evening 22:00, publicizing of the protocols received by the CEC was already launched on the CEC webpage. The Election Administration (EA) upon completion of the polling process, in a few hours, namely before 24:00 introduced the public with preliminary results based on 1181 precincts. Precinct summary protocols were promptly loaded throughout the night on the CEC website and as protocols so updated preliminary results were available to any interested person”, CEC Spokesperson said.
Ana Mikeladze also informed the media on complaints submitted at DECs. According to Spokesperson, as of now, approximately 307 complaints are filed at DECs. “Majority of complaints filed at DECs were filed during the day at electoral precincts. Most of the complaints referred to procedural shortcomings and the main request were to impose disciplinary liabilities against commission members. However, at the DECs were also filed complaints with other requests. There are certain complaints concerning results at PEC. All complaints will be responded by election commissions accordingly, “Ms Mikeladze stated.
At the end of the news briefing, the CEC Spokesperson thanked all electoral stakeholders, including domestic and international observer organizations, the media and the voters for their active involvement in the elections.