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20,000 observers, 152 media outlets monitor precedential election process in Georgia

By Ana Robakidze
Monday, October 28
According the Central Election Commission of Georgia (CEC) 60 local and 65 international organizations have registered to monitor the presidential election on October 27th. Overall, around 20,000 observers were deployed to polling stations across the country.

1,381 journalists from 152 media outlets have received accreditation to cover the election process.

The international mission, which is a joint undertaking of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (OSCE/ODIHR), the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly (OSCE PA), the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), the European Parliament (EP) and the NATO Parliamentary Assembly (NATO PA), has been monitoring the election process from the very beginning of the campaign.

The OSCE/ODHIR deployed 200 short-term and 28 long-term observers, as well as 16 experts to monitor the precedential election. ODHIR representatives refrained from making any preliminary assessment of the elections and said that the organization will make an official statement on October 28th.

According to the OSCE, "the international observers monitoring the presidential election in Georgia will present their preliminary post-election statement at a news conference on Monday, October 28. The statement will be delivered by Joao Soares, the Special Coordinator leading the short-term OSCE observer mission, followed by Meritxell Mateu Pi, Head of the PACE delegation, Ilkka Kanerva, Head of the OSCE PA delegation, Mati Raidma, Head of the NATO PA delegation, Krzysztof Lisek, the Head of the EP delegation, and Matteo Mecacci, the Head of the OSCE/ODIHR long-term election observation mission."

Observers have noted some minor procedural violations. However, the overall situation among the polling stations is calm, without any incidents or severe violations of the election legislation.

Joao Soares visited a number of stations in Tbilisi and told the media that Georgia can easily serve as an example for other post-Soviet countries. Soares confirmed that OSCE had not noted any violations and the election process fully met the required standards.

Ambassadors of the U.S, the Netherlands and the UK also monitored the election stations in Tbilisi. They commented on the election process while visiting one of the polling stations. U.S Ambassador Richard Norland said that October 27th is a very important day that may contribute to the consolidation of democratic institutions.

"It is already a tradition that the ambassadors of the U.S., UK and Netherlands are jointly monitoring the election process. Now too, along with my colleagues I am observing the election process. This is very important for Georgia. We are looking at how things are organized in the electoral process at the polling stations. It seems that in this case the process went very well and was well organized. We hope that the process will be conducted in a calm, transparent, free and fair environment," Norland stated. U.K Ambassador Alexandra Hall Hall and Ambassador of the Netherlands Hans Horbach both confirmed with the media that the election process was calm and all procedures were conducted according to legislation.

According to Horbach the ambassadors are trying to do a general review and monitor the election processes. "We have 80 observers in Georgia. This will enable us to get the general picture of the situation in the country. There is great interest from the international community towards Georgia’s democratic development," the UK ambassador stated to the media.

The presidential election of Georgia is closely being watched by NATO officials as well. NATO Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs and Special Representative James Appathurai made a brief statement on his official Facebook page saying that he was looking forward to a highly successful election in Georgia. "The preparations have been encouraging. I'm confident the Georgian people will demonstrate to the world today and in the coming period, that their democracy is truly maturing,” Appathurai said.

Neither local NGOs nor the CEC have recorded any grave violations during the Election Day. According to the CEC, polling took place in a calm atmosphere; no significant violations occurred and any procedural shortcomings reported by the observers were eliminated on the spot.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs stated on October 26th that police units would not be deployed at polling stations or in the vicinity. Law enforcers would enter polling stations only upon the request of the chairman of the polling station and would react on the committed violation in accordance with the law.