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Georgian NGOs assess local elections as mostly calm and transparent

By Tea Mariamidze
Monday, October 23
Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) based in Georgia assessed the October 21 local elections in the country as mainly calm and transparent; however, they did reveal a number of violations.

The International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED) reported that voting processes throughout the country were mainly calm and no major violations were observed by the ISFED observers.

“98% of election districts ensured complete conspiracy of the voting process,” the ISFED stated, adding that the most problematic was the Marneuli election district in this regard.

As for the vote counting process, the NGO says that the process was completed without incidents at 99.3% of the polling stations.

“This does not statistically differ from the data of the previous year's parliamentary elections and is slightly improved compared to the data of the local self-government elections (96.6%),” the statement of the ISFED reads.

Transparency International Georgia stated that the local self-government elections in Tbilisi were conducted in a calm environment, without significant incidents; however, the NGO added that there was a new problematic tendency regarding the alleged control of voters’ choices.

“Several party representatives wrote down the names of voters who passed the registration. If this process was conducted outside the polling stations during the previous elections, this time the party representatives moved into the stations,” the NGO said, adding that most active were the representatives of the ruling Georgian Dream (GD) party and Leftist Alliance.

In addition, the organization states that members of the commissions at the most polling stations had low qualifications, which in most cases was expressed in an aggressive and unconstructive behavior.

The Center of Development and Democracy (CDD) stated that the municipal elections were conducted in a calm and organized environment without any serious shortcomings and incidents.

“The CDD observer mission revealed a number of procedural violations, though the election administration responded to them in a timely fashion,” the NGO said.

Public Defender of Georgia, Ucha Nanuashvili, also made a statement regarding the elections, saying the voting process was mostly calm and transparent, but he was concerned by the presence of some party supporters at election districts, writing down the names of those appearing to vote.

Nanuashvili thinks this could constitutean indirect pressure on voters and called on the Central Election Commission to takeproper measures.