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Has the UN already refused to run the local elections?

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Friday, January 8
Russian and Georgian media sources have stated that the UN will refuse to grant the request that it run the forthcoming local elections in Georgia, which was sent to the Secretary General by the Labour Party and most of the opposition. The signatories of the request deny this, accusing the Georgian Government of spreading rumours, but the Parliamentary opposition Christian Democrats have said that these reports could be correct and this is the answer they would expect the UN to give.

Russian agency RIA Novosti, has reported that a UN representative announced in New York on January 6 that the organisation was only authorised to send an observer mission to a country if the government of that country asked it to. "Only the government of a country is authorised to make such an appeal to this organisation. The UN does not actually conduct monitoring of elections, we can only provide technical assistance to countries,” Martin Nesirky, Official Representative of UN Secretary General, stated. However, this information is strongly denied by the Labour Party. At a special briefing at its office on January 6 party members stated that the document, which was sent to New York on January 5, could not even have reached the UN yet. "No official decision on our appeal has been made, as the document has only just been sent. This is false information spread by Saakashvili’s special services and is the part of their anti-Labour Party dirty propaganda campaign,” Giorgi Gugava said.

Eka Beselia, leader of the Movement for United Georgia which also signed the appeal has stated that although such views could have been expressed by a UN official they do not constitute an official statement. "We cannot exclude the possibility that this might have been said during a UN question and answer session, but this doesn’t mean that the UN has rejected the opposition's appeal. It would be better to wait for the official answer and then speak about this,” Beselia has said.

The Christian Democrats say it was clear from the beginning that the UN would not agree to the opposition's request. "The report of the negative response from the UN is very likely to be true, as elections in any country should be held by its government. The most the UN can do is observe elections, ensure the official results are correct and help with technical matters,” Levan Vephkhvadze states.

Georgian Government members have stated that the UN is not to grant the opposition's request as doing so would be a breach of its own rules. As Georgia is a free and democratic country with a democratically elected Government capable of running any kind of elections in the country according to international standards, there is no need for the UN to take such a step, they have said.