The co-rapporteurs for Georgia of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), Michael Aastrup Jensen (Denmark, ALDE) and Boriss Cilevics (Latvia, SOC) today expressed their concern about the reports that the Georgian authorities have seized the bank accounts of the Georgian Dream opposition coalition, thereby undermining its participation in the election campaign for the parliamentary elections that will take place on 1 October 2012.
A statement published on the website of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe states:
“The excessive and disproportionate fines levied by the State Audit Service effectively undermine normal political activity by an opposition party. This is of concern, especially in the context of recurrent allegations of bias of the State Audit Service and reports by credible organisations, such as the Georgian Young Lawyers Association, that question the fairness of the court decisions in this respect.
The rationale for campaign funding legislation is to ensure a level playing field between all electoral contestants, and not to drive one party or the other out of the electoral race. The upcoming elections, and their democratic conduct, are crucial for Georgia’s democratic development. We therefore call upon the Georgian authorities to demonstrate maximum restraint and to ensure that all parties, including the Georgian Dream Coalition, can participate fully in the electoral campaign” they added.
The two co-rapporteurs will visit Georgia on 11 and 12 September 2012 as part of the pre-electoral mission of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.
source: CEW with www.coe.int
The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly has announced that a delegation headed by its President Riccardo Migliori, will visit Tbilisi on 20 August on a pre-election fact-finding mission. He will be accompanied by the Vice President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, Tonino Picula, who will head of election observation mission of the Assembly in Georgia in October and by Assembly Secretary General Spencer Oliver.
Picula, who served as the foreign minister of Croatia from 2004 to 2008, has extensive international election observation experience. He has previously led the OSCE election observation missions to Russia in 2012, Kazakhstan in 2011 and Moldova in 2010.
There is already a lot of confusion in the Georgian media about the different roles of the OSCE PA and ODIHR in the election observation process and very little sign that these roles are being properly explained. ODIHR which is supposed to provide long-term observation and deploy hundreds of observers is normally the main instrument of monitoring. The Parliamentary assembly provides the political clout for the OSCE monitoring effort. In theory! In practise the process does not always work so seamlessly.
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