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Georgian politicians should put their nation’s interests above party interests

Date

04 Oct 2021

Sections

Global Europe

Georgia's elections on 2 October were not only local elections but also another test of democracy. As a signal of unwavering support for Georgian democracy, the European Parliament participated with a seven-member strong delegation in the OSCE/ODIHR election observation mission, including S&D MEP Marina Kaljurand.

Ahead of the second round on 30 October in certain municipalities, the S&Ds urge all political forces to refrain from provocations and from further escalating political rhetoric in order to ensure a peaceful and democratic second round of elections.

Marina Kaljurand, the S&D representative in the European Parliament’s election observation delegation, and the EP chair of the delegation for relations with the South Caucasus said:

“I fully subscribe to the ODIHR’s preliminary findings and conclusions that characterise Georgia’s local elections as ‘generally well-administered but held against the backdrop of a protracted political crisis and characterised by hardened polarisation’. I call on all political parties to address these findings seriously and holistically, and to not only pick out specific provisions. Allegations of intimidation and pressure against candidates, voters and journalists during the entire electoral campaign period must be investigated.

“The elections took place in a polarised political climate which made it difficult for voters to make an informed choice. Nevertheless, the increased turnout shows that Georgians wish to take their country forward and expect their elected representatives to engage on this path. I would like to pay a personal tribute to the women of Georgia who were running many of its polling stations and equally deserve better representation among candidates and elected representatives.

“I strongly encourage Georgia’s political leaders to finally put the nation’s interests above their party interests and focus on fulfilling the responsibility that they owe to their country and its people.  Socio-economic recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic requires dedicated political leadership including on a local level. Georgia’s electoral legislation and democratic process must be further improved. Reforms towards a better future based on political stability, accountable institutions and an independent judiciary must be a priority. Therefore, commitments by all parties under the 19 April agreement mediated by the EU must continue to be fully implemented. Those in government always bear a particular responsibility to deliver, but we expect the opposition to contribute constructively as well."

Note to editors:

The European Parliament observation delegation was part of the International Election Observation Mission organised by the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) at the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). The delegation stayed in Georgia for two days before the elections and had meetings with Georgian officials, including Georgian President H.E. Salome Zourabichvili and Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili. It also met representatives of political parties, media and civil society and talked to many Georgians of different ages and political affiliations.

 

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