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NDI never disputed election legitimacy

By Tatia Megeneishvili
Monday, October 24
The Director of the Tbilisi Office of the US National Democratic Institute (NDI), Laura Thornton, says the organization has never questioned the legitimacy of Georgia’s October 8 Parliamentary Elections.

Thornton made the statement in response to the turmoil in terms of the NDI report which said the election and post-election period revealed the problems that led to the speculations, misunderstandings and mistrust.

"Our report cased a lot of turmoil and uncertainty. On October 8, the process was conducted in such a way that people had an opportunity to express their will, “she said.

Thornton added that during the electoral process there were some problems, such as administrative issues at polling stations, and these could hypothetically could problems in future elections.

“We expressed our remarks to ensure that future elections [Presidential, local government] are conducted well and do not let anyone to try and manipulate any future outcomes,” stated Thornton.

She stressed that improvement was still needed in the electoral administration.

“There are many new members in the election administration. They underwent training and it is understandable that they were tired. However, the process showed they needed to be more mobilized,” she stated.

According to Thornton, the NDI’s partners in the International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy conducted a parallel count, and the data revealed by them was very close to the results aired by the Central Election Commission of Georgia.

“However, there were some irregularities in the counting process, and violence at polling stations in some cases. But we can’t say whose fault it was or that they influenced the election results,” said Thornton.

The document released by NDI said the majority of voters in the parliamentary elections of October 8 had the opportunity to vote “freely.”