MEPs call for investigation of Allegations of bribery and voter intimidation in Georgia
Allegations of bribery and intimidation of voters in local self-government elections in Georgia should be investigated. This statement was made by the MEPs. Marina Kaliurand, Sven Mikser and Viola von Cramon were in Tbilisi and observed the elections in Georgia.
According to them, the election campaign was polarized, and charges of bribery and intimidation of voters should be thoroughly investigated:
“The campaign was characterized by a sharp polarization of politics and the media landscape, which sometimes led to verbal or physical confrontation. Too often, personal attacks have prevailed over political debate, preventing voters from making an informed choice. Cases of misuse of administrative resources, as well as allegations of voter bribery and intimidation of candidates, voters and journalists should be thoroughly investigated”.
According to MEPs, the first round of self-government elections was competitive and well-organized, despite the fact that the political environment was “extremely polarized”:
“However, the electoral environment did not provide a level playing field for rival parties and candidates, with the main focus shifting from local to national issues. These elections were held in accordance with a significantly improved legal framework, which allowed voters to choose between various political alternatives. The elections were well organized and candidates were free to campaign. Election day was organized and transparent, despite certain procedural issues”, the statement said.
MEPs call for improvements in the legal framework for the upcoming elections and point out that the recommendations of the OSCE / ODIHR and the Venice Commission should be taken into account in this regard. Also, in their opinion, it is necessary to take into account the insufficient representation of women in politics.
“Before the second round of elections, we call on the government and political parties of Georgia to stop the wrong actions that were observed during the first round. We call on the political class to show responsibility and maturity. They need to put public interests above the interests of the party, turn the page of confrontation and carry out the necessary reforms”.
“The European Parliament is ready to continue cooperation with the Parliament of Georgia, including on the entire spectrum of support for democracy, provided that our Georgian colleagues are ready for this”.
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On October 2, 2021, elections to local self-government bodies were held in Georgia. 64 mayors and 2,044 deputies of local councils – Sakrebulo – were elected in the elections.
According to the results published by the Central Election Commission of Georgia, the ruling Georgian Dream party received 46.69% of the vote, while the main opposition party, United National Movement obtained 30.7%. However, in almost all large cities – Tbilisi, Batumi, Kutaisi, Rustavi, Poti and Zugdidi – mayors will be determined in the second round, where the candidates from the ruling party and the National Movement entered.
This is the eighth municipal elections in independent Georgia.
The Georgian opposition refer to these elections as a referendum on confidence in the authorities, counting on their results to call early parliamentary elections.