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US has fully trusts ISFED, Kelly Degnan says

By Liza Mchedlidze
Thursday, August 25, 2022
US Ambassador Kelly Degnan stated that the United States has full trust in the 'Fair Elections' (ISFED).

According to Kelly Degnan, ISFED should have the opportunity to participate in the parliamentary working group on Electoral reform. According to the American ambassador, the recommendations of the European Commission envisage an inclusive process in which all interested parties, including civil organizations, should participate in the development of reforms.

Ambassador Degnan also recalled that international organizations were talking about significant violations regarding the 2020 and 2021 elections. According to the US ambassador, the fact that the public has lost confidence in the results of these elections is not the responsibility of ISFED.

"The US fully trusts ISFED. It is a respected and experienced election monitoring organization. ISFED participated last summer in the Electoral Reform Working Group, chaired by the current Speaker of Parliament, which produced some very important, useful electoral legislation which was then passed by Parliament.

I think it is also important to remember to repeat the assessments made by the OSCE/ODIHR and international and local election monitoring organizations on the 2020-2021 elections. All of them spoke about serious violations: intimidation, pressure on voters, carousel, use of administrative resources, and other violations that took place both in the weeks before the election and on the day of the election. By any assessment, these elections were not declared completely fair.

ISFED was not responsible for these violations. I think it is clear that they did not participate in the violations that caused the public to lose confidence in the election results.

As for the error that this organization had in calculating the results. As soon as they discovered this minor error, they immediately notified the public and made the information fully public. That is why we fully trust ISFED as a professional election observation organization. They were transparent about the error as soon as it was discovered. And that is why it is very important that ISFED and other civil organizations with experience in observing and holding elections have the opportunity to participate in the working groups for electoral reforms in Georgia. This is what the European Commission called for [Georgia] - an inclusive process that would ensure that all interested parties would have the opportunity to contribute to the improvement of Georgia's electoral system," the US ambassador said.

On August 18, the ruling party 'Georgian Dream' did not invite Fair Elections (ISFED) to the meeting of the working group created on the revision of the electoral code.

The head of the group, Givi Mikanadze, named the "non-neutrality" of the organization as the reason for this. According to him, ISFED lost its neutrality when it demanded the resignation of Irakli Gharibashvili from the position of Prime Minister.