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The News in Brief

Wednesday, May 21
Burjanadze addresses nation ahead of elections

Parliamentary Speaker Nino Burjanadze addressed the Georgian people, authorities and political opposition in a televised speech yesterday calling for fair and transparent elections.

“Everything ought to be done in such a way as to hold elections in a peaceful environment, fairly and transparently like in democratic and civilized countries,” Burjanadze said.

She underlined that an important feature of democratic elections is high voter turnout and said voters should fulfill their civic duty and head to the polls at a decisive moment for the country.

The parliamentary speaker, who is not running for reelection, said that each member of the Central Election Commission has a great responsibility and that all complaints must be considered. She also called on opposition parties and blocs to conduct disputes only through legal means. (Prime News)

Tbilisi mayor calls on parties to show respect during elections

Yesterday Tbilisi Mayor Gigi Ugulava called on political parties participating in the parliamentary elections to show respect towards each other.

“I would like to ask all political parties to be reasonable. The elections will be free and fair and thus all parties should respect the results of each other. We should overcome everything for our country,” Ugulava said, adding, “These elections are essential for us. The entire international community is observing developments in Georgia.”

“The elections are important not from the point of revealing the winners, but in [showing] change, progress and democratization. Georgia is being observed through a magnifying glass,” he said. (Black Sea Press)

Human Rights Ombudsman opens hotline

Yesterday the office of the Human Rights Ombudsman opened a hotline for citizens to report violations during the parliamentary elections.

“On election day and the days following we shall accept any information connected with possible violations,” Human Rights Ombudsman Sozar Subari told journalists. “Groups will be sent to places of possible violations and I will personally visit these places,” he added.

The office is also due to observe the elections. Its representatives will monitor voting in the regions. (Prime News, Black Sea Press)

Russian CEC says it has not received invitation to observe elections

Russia’s Central Electoral Commission (CEC) has not received an invitation to participation in observation, according to Russian CEC member Igor Borisov.

He also said that Russia would be indirectly sending observers as part of the Commonwealth of Independent States observer mission. (Black Sea Press)

Labor Party demands drug tests

Labor Party member Paata Jibladze requested that ruling party members of the district election commissions undergo drug testing.

“We demand that the chairmen of the commissions, their deputies and members of the commissions take drug tests,” Jibladze said at a May 19 press conference, claiming that the party has information that some members of a Tbilisi district commission are using narcotics.

Jibladze is running for a majoritarian seat in the capital’s Nadzaladevi district. (Black Sea Press)