OSCE says Georgia takes important step in consolidating conduct of democratic elections


2 October 2012

Georgia's parliamentary elections marked an important step in consolidating the conduct of democratic elections, although certain key issues remain to be addressed, concluded the international election observers in a statement released on Tuesday, Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) reported.

"The elections were competitive, with active citizen participation through the campaign, but the campaign environment was polarized and tense, with some instances of violence. The campaign often centered on the advantages of incumbency, on one hand, and private financial assets on the other, rather than on concrete political platforms and programmes," the report said.

While freedoms of association, assembly and expression were respected overall, instances of harassment and intimidation of party activists and supporters negatively affected the campaign environment, and often ended with detentions and fines of mostly opposition-affiliated campaigners. This contributed to an atmosphere of distrust among contestants, the statement said.

OSCE said the election administration enjoyed a high level of confidence and the Central Election Commission operated transparently, holding frequent open meetings open to observers, party representatives and media.

According to the Special Co-ordinator who led the short-term OSCE observer mission, and the Head of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly delegation Tonino Picula, despite a very polarizing campaign that included harsh rhetoric and shortcomings, the Georgian people have freely expressed their will at the ballot box. "The process has shown a healthy respect for fundamental freedoms at the heart of democratic elections, and we expect the final count will reflect the choice of the voters," Picula said.

Head of the Delegation from the NATO Parliamentary Assembly Assen Agov said yesterday's elections demonstrated Georgians' profound engagement in the democratic process. "We were impressed that the mass rallies were peaceful, and the heartfelt involvement we saw can only bode well for Georgia's future," he said.

Parliamentary elections in were held in Georgia on October 1. Around 14 parties and two political blocs participated in the elections.

Parliament will receive more authority in 2013 after amendments to the Constitution take force resulting in the president's power being reduced.

The opposition coalition Georgian Dream Party leads after counting almost 20 per cent of votes in the CEC.

The ruling United National Movement - more good to the people Party ranks second with 42.08 per cent.



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