The European Union has commended Georgian citizens for exercising their democratic right to vote in the local elections that took place on 2 October, as well as the dedicated electoral staff and observers, considering the challenging context of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a statement issued by the EU Delegation to Georgia.
According to the statement, a fully-fledged International Election Observation Mission, which was deployed in Georgia, concluded that “the elections were generally well administered (though characterised by hardened polarisation), that contestants were able to campaign freely in a competitive environment, and that the Election Day proceeded in an orderly and transparent manner”.
The mission also highlighted important shortcomings, notably widespread and consistent allegations of intimidation, vote-buying, pressure on candidates and voters and an unlevel playing field. In addition, the significant imbalance in resources and an undue advantage of incumbency further benefited the ruling party.
In view of the second round of elections, the European Union calls on the authorities and all the political parties to urgently make additional efforts to ensure a fair electoral process. “The reported malpractices must not become a norm. We also expect credible and swift investigations of all complaints, including reported intimidation and violence against journalists,” the Delegation says.
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