Georgian Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani had a telephone conversation with OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, Miroslav Lajčák on the continuation of illegal process of erecting artificial barriers in the village of Gugutiantkari.
David Zalkaliani provided the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office with detailed information on the increasing number of provocations across the occupation line, including the installation of artificial barriers in Gugutiantkari and the kidnapping of 8 citizens of Georgia from there.
According to the Minister, the erection of artificial barriers in the village of Gugutiantkari coupled with the continued practice of illegal detentions and kidnappings of Georgian citizens by the occupation forces aggravates the already difficult humanitarian situation and the security environment on the ground, and represents a clear attempt to further destabilize the situation.
Zalkaliani urged the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office to employ all international levers at his disposal to ensure that the illegal installation process is stopped and the kidnapped citizens of Georgia are returned to their families.
The Georgian Foreign Minister also urged Miroslav Lajčák to place the issue of Georgia high on the international agenda. The sides also highlighted the importance of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office’s arrival in Georgia to assess the situation on the ground.
Reaffirming his support for Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office emphasized the need to ensure security on the ground.
Election of President of Georgia will be held on October 28th. Citizens of Georgia will elect the president for a six-year term. 25 presidential candidates participate in elections, including 19 nominated by political parties and six – by initiative groups of voters. 3 703 electoral precincts are ready to hold elections, including 55 precincts abroad and 11 precincts established in exceptional cases.
Two electoral precincts were opened in Afghanistan for Georgian armed forces dislocated abroad where polling already took place and the vote counting will begin on October 28th in Georgia once the voting is completed.
The Total Number of voters amounts to 3 518 877, together with persons registered abroad for elections, including 14 795 citizens registered abroad based on Georgian legislature.
The Election Administration (EA) offered a number of services to voters to simplify the process of verifying personal and family data in the unified list of voters. Overall, voters used such services more than million times (1 182 031) and verified their data in the voter list. Voter lists and its public versions are placed at Precinct Election Commissions (PEC).
On October 28th, at 08:00 morning all electoral precincts will be ready to serve the voters. Ballot papers are handed out to Electoral districts which are printed into Georgian, Armenian, and Azerbaijani languages and trilingual ballot papers (Georgian-Azerbaijani-Armenian) are printed for certain precincts (4). The process of handing out the electoral documentation and relevant materials to precincts is being actively launched. Precincts are equipped with all necessary inventory.
Two magnifying sheets will be available for voters with vision impairment and a tactile ballot guide for filling in ballots for blind voters every electoral precinct. Posters depicting the voting process is available for voters at every polling station. More than one-third of precincts are adapted for voters using wheelchairs, namely, 1264 adapted electoral precincts are available for voters using wheelchairs along with special voting cabins.
On October 28th, in addition to Election of President of Georgia, Sakrebulo By-elections to be held through majoritarian contest will be conducted at 6 polling stations in Terjola and Samtredia municipalities where the total of 7 925 voters are registered. 8 candidates are registered for Sakrebulo By-elections (4 in Terjola and 4 in Samtredia). Voters participating in Sakrebulo By-elections at 6 electoral precincts will be provided with two ballot papers, one for the presidential election and one for Sakrebulo By-elections.
In 2018, political parties and domestic observer organizations were enjoying the new technologies of the EA namely they were appointing members, proxies of the electoral subjects and observers at election commissions through online registration program.
It is noteworthy, that more than 82 000 proxies of electoral subjects, more than 22 000 observers of 73 domestic observer organizations and more than 1100 international observers of 58 international organizations registered for the presidential election will monitor the elections. Electoral process will be covered by more than 2000 journalists of 125 media organizations; among accredited media outlets, 31 are international and 94 are domestic media organizations.
According to election legislation, it is prohibited to conduct election campaign at the polling station on polling day. Therefore, we call on authorized persons at electoral precincts not to appear at the polling stations with advertising/agitation symbols and signs of electoral subjects.
On October 28, it is also prohibited to place paid or free advertisements on TV and radio broadcasters and publish public opinion polls before the polling ends.
Also, with regard to procedural violations on polling day, if proxies of electoral subjects and domestic observers identify violations, they shall immediately apply the relevant PEC with application/complaint; if the complaint is not responded appropriately, complainer may immediately appeal the above violation to upper DEC. Based on the legislation, any complaint submitted at CEC concerning violations detected at electoral precinct will be left undiscussed.
On October 28th, at 20:00, once the polling process is completed vote counting procedures will begin. Following the drawing up the PEC summary protocols, they will be sent by relevant district election commissions to the CEC in earliest possible time and CEC upon its receipt will gradually upload summary protocols at special website www.results.cec.gov.ge.
Summary protocols are being uploaded to the CEC results summarizing center and operators enter the summary protocol data in the special program.
At the same time, those non-governmental organizations who are actively attending the CEC sessions and are monitoring the CEC activities and participate in the activities of the EA, may participate in process of summarizing results, more precisely, their respective observers may if they wish along with CEC operators enter PEC summary protocols in special electronic program.
It is noteworthy that for ensuring transparency of the electoral processes, the CEC enables every interested person to observe the process of summarizing the preliminary results at the CEC via internet livestream. A 360-degree camera will be used to broadcast the process through CEC official Facebook account, Youtube and CEC official website”.
CEC Call Center - 2 51 00 51 and online chat of the Central Election Commission will operate for 24 hours. Deaf and hearing impaired voters after registering at CEC web-page may receive relevant information in sign language through a video call. Armenian and Azerbaijani language speaking voters may receive CEC Call Center’s services in their respective languages.
The CEC Media Center will also operate for 24 hours enabling representatives of the media and observer organizations to receive relevant information. The news briefing will be regularly held during the whole day at Media Center.
According to the legislation, the EA is fully prepared to serve voters in a professional manner; we call upon voters to actively participate in elections. Also, we appeal to electoral stakeholders to respect the public interest, be highly responsible towards the electoral process, respect the rule of law, and support the conduct of elections in a peaceful and free environment and ensure the realization of the free will of the electorate.
Tamar Zhvania, the CEC Chairperson presented preliminary results of October 21 mayoral elections of self-governing cities as of 03:30am – “I would like to announce preliminary results currently submitted to the CEC. The votes are being counted at the Precinct Election Commissions and the summary protocols are drawn up. Afterwards, the protocols are sent to the District Election Commissions, where the data are uploaded in the electronic system, from where the CEC immediately receives the protocols and then they are uploaded at the special website www.results.cec.gov.ge. Preliminary results are processed by our operators. I would like to underline, that the certain number of election precinct protocols are received, however, we do not have the full picture yet. Since there are three types of ballot papers at each election precinct, the counting process may require the certain time. Hereby, I would like to mention, that the protocols that reflect the existing results were immediately uploaded on the CEC official website upon their receipt and everyone had the opportunity to see each summary protocol.
I would like to present the preliminary results of mayoral elections in Tbilisi, Kutaisi, Batumi, Rustavi and Poti. These preliminary results are counted according to certain election precincts and the data is the subject of change. The information will be updated accordingly. As for the mayoral elections held in self-governing communities, we will upload the preliminary data online according to municipalities. The information will be accessible for all electoral stakeholders. In several hours, data of proportional and majoritarian elections will be also available. The CEC continues uploading the received summary protocols on its official website and updating preliminary results” – stated CEC Chairperson.
The Ruling Team has already made the decisions on the positions in Parliamentary Committee. New Chairperson will have the Health Committee of Parliament. According to the non formal information, Dimitri Khundadze will not lead this committee anymore and he will be changed by Mariam Jashi.
Legal Affairs Committee will be lead by Mamuka Mdinaradze. The consultations were hold yesterday evening in Georgian Dream office.
PACE co-rapporteurs welcome Georgian authorities’ willingness to seek Venice Commission’s opinion on Constitutional Court amendments
Strasbourg, 10.05.2016 - At the end of their visit to Georgia, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) co-rapporteurs for the country, Boriss Cilevics (Latvia, SOC) and Kerstin Lundgren (Sweden, ALDE), have welcomed the intention of the Chairperson of the Human Rights and Civil Integration Committee of the Georgian Parliament to send the proposed amendments to the laws governing the Constitutional Court to the Venice Commission for opinion, before they are discussed in second reading in the parliament.
“This should allay any fears that, when adopted, these amendments would inadvertently hinder the efficient functioning of the Constitutional Court. The important role of the Constitutional Court as an independent and impartial arbiter should be ensured. By being asked for an opinion in the next couple of days, the Venice Commission would be able to adopt its opinion at its June plenary session, which in turn would allow the parliament to take the recommendations of the Venice Commission into account when adopting the amendments in final reading before the end of this parliamentary session,” said the two co-rapporteurs.
Referring to the two separate proposals for Constitutional Amendments to change the current mixed proportional-majoritarian election system, the rapporteurs regretted that the different political forces had not been able to reach a consensus on the date these changes would be implemented. “As we have said previously, since 2007 the ruling majority and opposition, irrespective of their members, have been unable to reach a consensus on the electoral system, which has been a permanent source of tension in the political environment. We therefore urge all political forces to compromise now, in order to avoid that the same exact question will return during the run-up to the 2020 elections.”
The two co-rapporteurs also noted the many proposals for changes to the electoral code that are currently circulating. While welcoming any proposals that would increase public trust in the conduct of the elections, they also stressed the importance of the stability of the electoral framework in the months before the elections. They called on all political forces and other stakeholders to refrain from any actions or discourse that could negatively affect the democratic conduct and public trust in the forthcoming elections. “With the 2012 elections, Georgia set an example for the region. That trend should be continued in 2016,” said the co-rapporteurs.
During their visit the co-rapporteurs met with several representatives of minorities and organisations working on minority issues. They urged the authorities to continue unabated their efforts to fight discrimination and prejudice, and to strengthen tolerance for minorities in Georgian society. “This is especially important in the context of the forthcoming elections, with the risk of instrumentalisation of minority issues for ulterior motives, including by interests outside of the country,” they concluded.
The rapporteurs will visit Georgia again during the pre-electoral period in the framework of the observation of the forthcoming parliamentary elections, in order to assess the pre-electoral environment.