Strasbourg, 16 March2022 - Reacting to recent so-called “parliamentary elections” held on 12 March 2022 in the Abkhazia region in Georgia, the President of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe, Leendert Verbeek, made the following statement:
“By organising these “elections”, the so-called “de facto” authorities of Abkhazia, once again, undermined the principle of the territorial integrity of Georgia forcing this region further into isolation, to the detriment of the local population.
The Congress has always shown its unrelenting commitment to the territorial integrity of member States within its internationally recognised borders. This principle is all the more important in the current context of the Russian military aggression against Ukraine.
Not only since 24 February we know that the illegal recognition of territories of other member States can be only one step ahead of further aggression and war. This is the bitter lesson we have to learn, eventually.
Therefore, all sort of action undermining the territorial integrity and sovereignty of a member State, is to be strongly condemned. The so-called “elections” organised in Abkhazia fall under this category and do not recognise the illegal occupation of Abkhazia by the Russian Federation. The “vote” organised in Abkhazia on 12 March, instead of strengthening, further erodes stability in this region and is, moreover, the wrong signal at the wrong time.”
On elections of President of Turkmenistan to the 13 o'clock 71,90% of voters voted.
According to Ahal province voted 71,86%, Balkan province 73,46%, Dashoguz province 70,73%, Lebap province 71,29%, the Mary province 72,71% in the city of Ashgabat 72,83% of voters.
Also, 63,19% of voters voted at polling stations abroad.
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.
Vote on 2 October was a missed opportunity for local democracy in Georgia, says Head of Congress delegationMonday, 04 October 2021 16:29
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 ZalkalianiThursday, 02 September 2021 11:53
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 OssetiaTuesday, 11 June 2019 10:17
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.
Today, Municipal Elections is being conducted in Georgia. All election precincts were open for voters, at 08:00 am.
The Central Election Commission (CEC) held its first news briefing to announce the start of the polling.
According to Ana Mikeladze, the CEC Spokesperson, the polling process is being conducted in a peaceful and accessible election environment. Today, the voters will elect 2058 members of 64 Sakrebulos and 64 mayors. As for the number of voters, 3 440 123 voters are included in the unified voters’ list.
“We would like to remind the voters that at election precincts they will receive three types of ballot papers: one - blue ballot paper is intended for proportional elections to elect the political party or election bloc, second – pink ballot paper - for electing majoritarian member of Sakrebulo, third – light green ballot paper - for electing mayor of self-governing city or self-governing community” - stated Ana Mikleadze
It should be also stated that the ballot papers in Georgian-Azerbaijani, Georgian-Armenian as well as trilingual ballot papers in Georgian-Azerbaijani-Armenian languages are available for ethnic minority voters at respective election precincts.
Magnifying sheets are accessible for voters with visual impairments at election precincts and tactile ballot guide for blind voters. The deaf and hard of hearing voters as well as beneficiaries of support will receive information about the polling process via special poster. Special voting booths are available for voters using a wheelchair at 1153 adapted election precincts.
54 389 representatives of election subjects, 20 641 of local and 581 international observers will monitor the election process. In addition, 4 820 accredited journalists will cover the elections.
After closing the polling stations at 20:00 pm, the vote counting procedures will start at the election precincts. Upon receipt of summary protocols, the CEC will gradually upload them on the special webpage www.results.cec.gov.ge.
“Hereby, let me remind you that agitation at polling stations is prohibited by the election legislation. It is also prohibited to place any paid or free political advertisement on television and radio. It is also prohibited to publish public opinion poll results before 20:00” – announced Ana Mikeladze.
According to Ana Mikeladze, the CEC Call Center - 2 51 00 51 and online chat will operate for 24 hours on E-day.
”Citizens and electoral stakeholders may apply to the Election Administration in order to receive or provide any election-related information. Hereby, the Election Administration urges voters to participate in elections and appeals to the election stakeholders to support the conduct of elections in calm and free election environment” - stated Ana Mikeladze.
The Election Administration will be delivering the information on polling process and voter turnout during the whole E-day. Six news briefings will be conducted during the day.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic is concerned over the developments in breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia in Georgia.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs does not recognise the so-called parliamentary elections held in Abkhazia in March 2017, neither the presidential elections and referendum in Georgia’s region of South Ossetia held in April 2017. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs reiterates its support for Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
The Statement of the President of Georgia on the So-Called Elections to Be Conducted in the Occupied AbkhaziaMonday, 13 March 2017 13:38
Up to 2,000 protesters attended a rally in Kyiv on Nov. 27 in support of early parliamentary elections and ex-Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili’s newly-created political movement, called the Movement of New Forces. Saakashvili resigned as governor of Odesa Oblast on Nov. 7, accusing President Petro Poroshenko of blocking his efforts to reduce corruption in the region’s law enforcement bodies, civil service and customs – a claim denied by the president’s representatives. Saakashvili later announced plans to launch a political party in an effort to come to power and replace Ukraine’s political establishment.
The speakers at the rally drew parallels with their movement and the 2014 EuroMaidan Revolution, which ousted ex-President Viktor Yanukovych, and used EuroMaidan slogans.
The place where the rally was held, the crossing of Hrushevsky Street and Muzeiny Alley, was the scene of violent clashes during the revolution in January 2014. It is also close to the office of Saakashvili’s movement.
“There are so many of us here in this place where citizens took power into their own hands three years ago,” said Denys Brodsky, a former reformist head of the National Civil Service Agency and moderator of the rally. “Right here the nation woke up… Your presence here proves that the Maidan’s cause has not been accomplished. Time is up – the last winter of this parliament is at hand.”
Saakashvili also alluded to Vyacheslav Chornovil, a leader of Ukraine’s 1990s independence movement with whom he had been acquainted, since the rally was held in front of a monument to him.
“We are launching a movement that will change the course of our country’s history,” Saakashvili said. “The oligarchic parliament does not reflect the people’s will, contradicts Ukraine’s national interests and threatens the future of our children.”
He called for changing the electoral law to make it easier for non-oligarchic parties to get into parliament, replacing the discredited Central Election Commission, abolishing parliamentary immunity from prosecution and holding snap parliamentary elections.
“(Those in power) know that a wave is rising that will wipe them from the face of the earth and will release the nation from their tentacles,” Saakashvili said.
He also argued that the fate of both Ukraine and Europe depended on whether the nation got rid of its corrupt elite and carried out reforms.
“Not only Ukraine’s independence is at stake but the freedom of the whole of Europe,” Saakashvili said. “Today Ukraine is an outpost of the free world.
The platform of Saakashvili’s movement, as announced by him, includes “uncompromising reforms, zero tolerance for corruption, a total purge of state institutions, jailing thieves in government, freeing the people and businesses from the regulatory burden, a steep cut in taxes and simplifying tax collection.” Other aspects include “fundamental judicial reform, radical liberalization of the old oligarchic economy, the reform of education, healthcare, and social policy and introducing law and order – at a lightning speed, uncompromisingly and – if necessary – very severely,” he said.
Yulia Marushevska, a Saakashvili ally and ex-head of Odesa Oblast’s customs, also spoke at the protest. She argued that “unfortunately corruption in this country is spearheaded by the president.” President Petro Poroshenko has denied the accusations.
Nazar Nagiev, a veteran of the war with Russia who attended the rally, told the Kyiv Post that “nothing is changing in this country.” “That’s why we decided to support him,” he said. We’re hoping for something new.” He also jokingly suggested sending the whole of the Ukrainian parliament as soldiers to the war zone. “Let them gobble worm-eaten porridge for half a year,” he said. “We, the war veterans, will drive all these scoundrels out.”