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Is international pressure the only way to ensure free and fair elections in Georgia?

Friday, July 6
“Yes, international engagement is very important but this is not even enough. I think Georgian society is not motivated enough to have free and fair elections and that’s too bad.”
Lali, Reporter, 22

“I definitely think that our government and opposition need serious pressure from the West not to break the limits and stay in the legal frames.”
Tamta, Interpreter, 26

“I don’t think international society can do anything for ensuring fairness of Georgian elections. Both government and opposition have lobbyists who do their best to promote “their” party which is not fair itself. I think Georgian society, independent media and lawyers should take the full responsibility and properly monitor the election campaign and the elections themselves.”
Nodar, Manager, 31

“The more I listen to the local and international officials about the upcoming parliamentary elections the more I become worried of the possible falsification of the elections by our government. The sudden government reshuffle has made me more obsessed with the idea that our ruling party hopes to “influence” the law enforcement bodies and the armed forces more intensively. Moreover, the Western partners of our president seem to become more inspired with Saakashvili’s “democratic” decisions and I doubt that even the international observers would manage to remain impartial.”
Nikoloz, Lawyer, 56

“From my point of view when the representatives of international society meet with the Georgian government, they praise the democratization of the country but when they talk to the opposition – they make critical recommendations to the government. I am not an expert neither in politics nor in diplomacy, but I think no one can change or define our fate aside from us – Georgian society. I think only full participation in elections can ensure any results. International pressure is very unrealistic for me.”
Lali, Housewife, 36

“The US and Europe has experience in conducting free and fair elections that’s why I think international pressure is important work and awaking our politicians and reminding them that “the rules” of democracy is in the change of governments and promotion of people’s interests. Every democratic president and parliament opens the way to new players like in France. If we want to be European we should better familiarize ourselves with their principles, but without Western pressure, I doubt that our politicians will ever realize that.”
Erekle, Driver, 38