“Any shvilli is fine as long as he is the true choice of the Georgian people.” EPC hosts roundtable discussion about Georgia in Brussels.

Speakers at an event on the Georgian elections held at the E{PC in Brussels on 19 September 2012.

The leading Brussels think tank, The European Policy Centre (EPC), on 19 September hosted a round table discussion on the Georgian elections with the participation of Georgian politicians, and representatives from European institutions and civil society. The well attended event was chaired by Amanda Paul, Senior Analyst at the EPC.

The different views of the Georgian political spectrum were presented by Giorgi Kandelaki, Deputy Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Georgian Parliament and an activist of the United National Movement who gave a spirited, somewhat aggressive presentation, whilst the opposition view was presented by a more statesmanlike presentation by Tedo Japaridze, Georgia former Foreign Minister and currently International Secretary of the Georgian Dream coalition.

The European perspective was given by the Estonian Ambassador to the EU Matti Maasikas, Polish MEP Krzysztof Lisek, Jacqueline Hale, a senior policy analyst at the Open Society Institute in Brussels and Dennis Sammut, Executive Director of LINKS, the London based think tank. More…

Editorial Comment: Nothing less than ‘Zero Tolerance’ to election fraud is acceptable!

Georgia goes to the polls in a few days’ time. What happens on 1 October will determine the future of the country for a long time. It is for the Georgian people to decide who they want to govern them and what sort of future they want for their country. But Europe has a duty to observe this process carefully, and to give a true and fair assessment afterwards. Thousands of observers and journalists will be in Georgia these days to do just that.

On too many occasions Europe’s vision of Georgia has been clouded by considerations that are certainly not valid for the current circumstances. Georgia has a damaged society, partly a result of a style of government in recent years that has been confrontational in its approach. The prisons torture scandal over the last days has further exacerbated the problem. The European Union and the United States, Georgia’s two main friends in the world, should have done more in the past years to help raise concerns and address serious shortcomings in the field of democratic governance, human rights and the rule of law. More…

A tale of two reports: Not contradictory, but they leave different impressions.

A stream of European and American officials have been visiting Georgia in the weeks running up to the 1 October parliamentary elections. They all seem to have the same message: the importance for Georgia’s future that the elections are deemed free and fair. But the question is already arising, who if anybody, is going to decide if they were or not?

Two reports issued last week by two reputable organisations, both claiming to cover the pre-election period, whilst not exactly contradictory, leave the reader with two different impressions. More…

ODIHR’s first interim report on Georgia a non-event.

The OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) Election Observation Mission for the Georgian Parliamentary Elections has published its first interim report covering the period from 22 August to 5 September 2012.

The report  has been characterised by some following the Georgian election process as a bland and expensive non-event since it waffles through the main issues that have been at the centre of the Georgian Electoral process. A team of several dozen core and so called “long term” members of the mission deployed at the end of August, months after the election campaign had started in earnest. The report makes no attempt to capture the many controversies that have dominated the process so far. The core and “long term” observers are due to be joined for elections day by 350 short term observers deployed from the OSCE member states.

A second report is due shortly before the day of the elections.

The ODIHR EOM to Georgia first interim report is available here.

source: CEW

OSCE Parliamentary Assembly says Georgia State Audit Service is “making questionable decisions and imposing harsh penalties without clear or transparent guidelines.”

The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly has raised concerns about the forthcoming parliamentary elections in Georgia.  A delegation of senior officials from the Assembly today concluded a three-day visit to Georgia aimed at assessing the country’s pre-election climate. Tonino Picula (Croatia), appointed by the OSCE Chair-in-Office to lead the short-term OSCE observer mission, led a delegation, which included OSCE PA President Riccardo Migliori (Italy), Secretary General Spencer Oliver and Director of Presidential Administration Roberto Montella.

The delegation met with a wide range of stakeholders in the upcoming election, including ruling authorities, opposition parties, election administrators, representatives of the media and civil society, as well as members of the international community in Tbilisi. More…

ODIHR Election Observation Mission in Georgia starts its work.

The OSCE has announced that its Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) has launched its Election Observation Mission ahead of the  1 October Parliamentary elections in Georgia. A statement on the OSCE website says:

“The OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) today opened an election observation mission for the parliamentary elections to be held in Georgia on 1 October.

The mission’s deployment follows an invitation from the Georgian Foreign Ministry.

The mission is led by Nikolai Vulchanov and consists of 15 international experts based in Tbilisi and 28 long-term observers to be deployed throughout the country. In addition, ODIHR will request 350 short-term observers to monitor election-day proceedings and the counting process. More…