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OSCE meets with Voters List Commission

By Ernest Petrosyan
Thursday, June 14
Chair of the State Commission for Ensuring Voter List Accuracy, Mamuka Katsitadze, has met with representatives of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) mission to Georgia.

Kasitadze spoke with OSCE/ODIHR Election Adviser Richard Lapin, ODIHR Senior Election Advisor Tatyana Bogusevich, and OSCE Parliamentary Assembly Deputy Director for Field Operations Roberto Montella.

At the meeting Katsitadze introduced the results of the Commission’s door-to-door campaign, which was conducted in accordance with OSCE recommendations and aimed at verifying voter list accuracy by checking voter information by visiting them at home.

“We have made exactly the work on which the OSCE observers focused after the previous elections - with the door-to-door campaign, we focused on the problems indicated in the reports of the organization's observers,” Katsitadze said.

He noted that as a result of the door-to-door campaign, Georgian citizens living overseas have been registered, deceased individuals were removed from the voters’ list, and the issue of correct addresses has been resolved.

“These problems were the main issues in the OSCE election reports, and we applied priority to those matters during our door-to-door campaign,” he added.

Meanwhile, Ireland’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Eamon Gilmore, whose country is currently chairing the OSCE, is visiting Georgia during his broader South Caucasus trip.

“The OSCE expects parliamentary elections to be held in line with democratic standards in Georgia," Gilmore said at a press conference held with his Georgian counterpart, Grigol Vashadze.

“We expect the elections to express the free will of the Georgian people," Gilmore, also the OSCE Chair-in-Office, remarked.

“I welcome the timely invitation to the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights to observe the upcoming parliamentary elections and urge the Georgian authorities to make every effort possible to ensure that the elections are in line with OSCE and international standards,” he affirmed.

Katsitadze also pledged that all changes will be reflected in the unified voters list. As he told reporters, he is ready to take all recommendations from political and non-governmental organizations made through July 10, in order to better the project.

"If any alternative [door-to-door method] reveals some errors – whether it will refer to dead persons, people abroad living, or unidentified individuals, I pledge to reflect them in the voters list if indeed the [findings] are reasonable,” Katsitadze affirmed. Although he finds it difficult to imagine how the Voters League will manage to conduct an alternative door-to-door campaign, he is ready to accept any fact-based commentary from any organization.

He noted, however, that if members of the opposition raise some points after August 1, when the final list will be published, they will be considered politically biased and will receive a political response.

The Voters' League has announced that it does not trust the multi-party State Commission for Ensuring Voters List Accuracy initiated by President Mikheil Saakashvili, and so launched an alternative campaign, beginning June 18. The Voters' League also plans to monitor the elections.