Polling Process Is Complete
The polling process is complete. 1 025 406 voters took part in elections, which is 49.09% of the total number of voters. 478 642 voters participated in the polling in the capital during the day (47,7%). The COVID-19 regulations were fully adhered to at the polls. Procedural inaccuracies were detected in certain cases, though they did not cause the termination of the voting process. I would like to thank voters for being active and for following COVID-19 regulations during the polling process. Additionally, I would like to thank members of election commissions at all levels and employees for well-administering the elections. I would like to extend my gratitude to involved parties, observers, and the media.
A special, full of responsibility phase of vote counting is starting right now for the election administration. I would like to urge election commissions of all levels to follow the norms defined by the election legislation. Polling stations were closed at 20:00 according to the legislation and right now the vote-counting process is underway. Video recording of vote counting procedures is being conducted at those electoral precincts where the number of registered voters exceeded 300. After precinct election commissions’ (PECs) summary protocols are drawn up, they are being delivered to the district election commissions (DECs). The DECs will scan the PEC summary protocols and send them to the CEC in the shortest possible time. The CEC upon receipt of the PEC summary protocols will gradually upload them into special webpage results.cec.gov.ge.
Please see the following statistics - 1318 phone calls and 262 online messages were received at the CEC Contact Hub from 07:00 to 20:00. The vast majority of them concerned the voters’ request to verify their data in the list, specify addresses of their polling stations, and the election procedures. The election administration calls on all electoral stakeholders during their work to facilitate the election administration to carry out its duty in a peaceful environment so that the will of every voter is reflected and the vote-counting process is not disrupted.
Municipal Elections - Preliminary Results of Second Round
The second round of Municipal Elections is over. Chairperson of the Central Election Commission (CEC) presented preliminary results of the elections to the media and the public during a press briefing held today. Giorgi Kalandarishvili expressed his gratitude towards the voters for their activity and for high civic responsibility exposed for the second round of elections. “In pandemic conditions, 1 025 406 voters took part in the process of voting. I thank each and every election administrator who spared no effort, worked 24 hours a day and still continue to work in order to ensure free and transparent environment for the entire electoral process.
The election process was quite competitive. Inaccuracies took place, but overall, not only by our estimation, a COVID-safe and professionally organized election environment was ensured for every voter arriving at the Precinct Election Commission (PEC). In certain cases, the voting process was delayed for a while due to specific incidents in several precincts, which did not affect the entire voting process.
The second round of elections was conducted and I would like to thank all the electoral stakeholders: observer organizations, media outlets and electoral subjects who were actively observing the elections," - stated the CEC Chairperson.
As Giorgi Kalandarishvili stated at the end of the briefing, the preliminary results of the second round are counted according to the summary protocols of all 261 polling stations through the majoritarian contest and full information is available at the CEC’s special website: results.cec.gov.ge.
According to the legislation, the Election Administration (EA) officially summarizes the results of the second round no later than November 13, after completing all the procedures prescribed by law.
As for the complaints, a total of 272 complaints were submitted to the District Election Commissions (DECs) yesterday, of which 121 were submitted by observers and 151 by electoral subjects. Most of them related to procedural violations. Detailed statistics on complaints will be provided by the EA to the public in the nearest future. We would like to remind you, that the DECs will examine the complaints within 4 calendar days in accordance with the Election Code and then make a decision.
The DEC’s decision may be appealed to a respective district/city court within 2 calendar days. The district/city court shall consider the appeal within 2 calendar days.
We would also like to recall that the EA will carry out recount procedures; In each election district, where the second round of elections was held, 5-5 polling stations will be identified by casting a lot on a random basis and the results of a total of 150 polling stations will be recounted; this is another important guarantee of ensuring the high quality of election transparency.
The CEC Chairperson Calls on Voters to Actively Participate in Elections
Today, Giorgi Kalandarishvili, Chairperson of the Central Election Commission of Georgia held a conclusive news briefing.
“On October 30, the second round of municipal elections will be held. You will elect the mayors at 5 self-governing cities and 15 municipalities, and 42 majoritarian members at 24 election districts. I would like to call on the voters registered in those election districts wherein the second round of elections are being held to be active from 08:00 am, visit the election precincts, realize your constitutional right and participate in polling.
1830 election precincts are opened for the second round of elections, in addition, 8 election precincts created in exceptional cases will serve the voters, and 29 special polling stations which will serve the voters placed in intensive care units and isolation.
The total number of voters for the second round of elections constitutes 2 088 722.
On E-day, you will find the polling booths with a renewed design that has the cut from the front side, so that the secrecy of polling is ensured. We would like to remind you that voting is secret and photo-video shooting at the polling booth is prohibited. During the October 2 elections, redesigned ballot booths were used only in Tbilisi, and thereafter the CEC decided to utilize them at all election precincts for the second round of elections.
Similar to the October 2 elections, voting will be conducted by using electronic technologies at 31 election precincts of the N4 Krtsanisi election district.
By the CEC decision, the video recording of vote counting procedures will be conducted at all 1750 election precincts where the number of registered voters exceeds 300. Recounting of election results of randomly selected polling stations will be also recorded.
I would like to underline, that registration was prolonged for all observer and media organizations registered for the October 2 elections. Electoral stakeholders will monitor the October 30 elections with an increased number.
5 309 representatives of electoral subjects, 35 198 observers of local observer organizations, and 1 102 observers of 52 international observer organizations are registered for the second round of elections, and 3 711 representatives of 119 media organizations will cover the upcoming elections.
I will take this opportunity to call upon the election commissions at all levels not to spare any effort and to hold the second round of elections with high responsibility and professionally.
Well-conducted elections - are an indicator of the level of democracy in the country - in which all employees of the Election Administration, all election administrators, participate equally, and all their roles are equally important. Our team works diligently and will continue their work on E-day to ensure voters cast their votes in a safe and free election environment.
I would like to call upon the observers to monitor the election process accurately and evaluate the process and E-day objectively. I urge the media to cover the process widely, impartially, and in detail and deliver complete and objective election-related information to citizens. I would like to also appeal to the members of political parties to join us and together with election administrators and precinct election commission members support a peaceful election environment.
Please note that on October 30 you will find a COVID-safe environment. All COVID-19 regulations will be followed and you will have a possibility to cast vote in an electoral environment safe for your health”.
Vote on 2 October was a missed opportunity for local democracy in Georgia, says Head of Congress delegation
Strasbourg, 4 October 2021 - The Congress concluded its mission to observe the local elections held on 2 October in Georgia. David ERAY (Switzerland, EPP/CCE, R), Head of the delegation, underlined the extremely polarized political environment in the country as well as an increase in verbal aggression, hate speech and fake news on social media during the campaign. “This polarisation had a paralyzing effect on local democracy which, in fact, has been taken hostage of the overall national political situation. Against this background, this poll was a missed opportunity for local democracy in Georgia”, Mr Eray stated. The overall unlevel playing field, pressure on voters and vote-buying were further features of these elections which raised concern of the Congress delegation.
Further to the invitation by the Georgian authorities, the Congress carried out an election observation mission from 29 September to 3 October 2021 and observed the local elections held on 2 October as part of a joint international election observation mission together with the OSCE/ODIHR and the European Parliament. The Congress mission comprised 18 members representing 15 Council of Europe countries who observed elections in 9 regions of Georgia, visiting in total some 120 polling stations from the opening until the closing.
The Election Day was overall calm, orderly, transparent and well organised. Except for some inconsistencies, particularly regarding the set-up of polling booths and finger-inking, the Congress observers did not notice major shortcomings during the voting procedures. Some polling stations in urban areas, mostly in Tbilisi, were comparatively small considering the large number of commission members and domestic observers and thus over-crowded. This led also to some confusion about the different roles of election workers, notably during the counting. Some of the Congress observers also reported violations of the new regulation on the 100-meter-perimeter around polling stations.
Although new regulations were put in place to increase number of women on candidate lists by placing at least one in every three candidates of the opposite gender on the ballot, this legal provision 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. “In our opinion, this was against the spirit of the law”, Mr Eray stated.
Prior to the Election Day, the Congress delegation held meetings in Tbilisi with various interlocutors, including representatives of the diplomatic corps, domestic and international NGOs, media representatives, the Central Elections Commission and with the Deputy Minister of Justice and Head of Inter-Agency Task Force for Free and Fair Elections, Mr Tornike Cheishvili. Meetings with representatives from different parties including GD, UNM, For Georgia and European Georgia rounded off the preparatory programme of the Congress. The Congress report will be presented at the next Monitoring Committee and adopted during the 42nd Congress Plenary in March 2022.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia started preparations for the elections as early as in April and sent invitations to all international observers - David Zalkaliani
According to the Georgian Vice Prime Minister/Foreign Minister Davit Zalkaliani, the local self-government elections scheduled for 2 October will be monitored by international observation missions.
The Vice Prime Minister said that the Georgian government started preparations for the elections as early as in April. Formal invitations were sent to all international observer missions, including the OSCE/ODIHR EOM, as well as to all international organizations and partner countries. "Two invitations were sent, one in April, before the election date was announced, and the other – immediately after the election date was officially announced" - Zalkaliani added.
According to him, the leaders of the OSCE/ODIHR EOM are in Tbilisi and a meeting with them has already been held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. "We help them address all organizational matters and provide them with all conditions for normal functioning, including amid the pandemic. The experience we gained from the previous elections also helps us in this" said the Foreign Minister.
The OSCE/ODIHR EOM will assign 350 short-term observers to monitor the election process in Georgia, “however, it is expected that the number of observers this time will be much higher than in previous elections, as the Foreign Ministry sent official invitations to the Parliamentary Assemblies of the Council of Europe, NATO and OSCE, as well as to various international organizations” – said the Minister.
“We’ll do our utmost to ensure that international observers do their work safely and in normal conditions” – added the Minister.
MFA of Georgia
The Statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia on the so-called parliamentary elections in occupied Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia refers to the ongoing so-called parliamentary elections in occupied Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia, which blatantly violates the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia within its internationally recognized borders. Any so-called elections held in the occupied territories are illegal and cannot have any legal effect, as they are in contradiction with the fundamental norms and principles of international law.
The above so-called elections represent yet another futile attempt by Russia and its occupation regime in Tskhinvali to legitimize the ethnic cleansing of Georgians in Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia, the illegal occupation and forceful change of sovereign borders of Georgia. The so-called parliamentary elections are taking place in the context, when internally displaced persons and refuges, forcibly expelled from the occupied territories, continue to be deprived of the possibility to return to their homes, and while the people on the ground are forced to live under violations of basic human rights and freedoms. At the same time, the Russian Federation continues its military build-up, control and de-facto annexation of the occupied territories, in full disregard of the EU-mediated 12 August 2008 Ceasefire Agreement.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia appeals to the international community to give a due assessment to the ongoing so-called parliamentary elections in the Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia, and calls upon the Russian Federation to fulfill undertaken international obligations and withdraw its military forces from Georgia’s territory.