Three embassies make joint statement on elections
The Embassies of the United States, United Kingdom, and the Netherlands have released a joint statement to assess the local government elections conducted in Georgia on June 15th.
`The Embassies of the United States, United Kingdom, and the Netherlands congratulate Georgia on a successful and well-administered election day, one in which local voters directly elected all mayors and gamgebelis (municipal executives) for the first time. This represents an historic step in strengthening local governance, and constitutes an important development ahead of the signature of an Association Agreement with the European Union on June 27.
As part of our joint observation mission, our 95 monitors traveled to 23 electoral districts and visited over 600 Precinct Election Commissions (PEC). Our observers noted the voting environment was calm overall with relatively few violations reported among the over 3,600 PECs. We believe that the strong performance by opposition parties and second round elections in several localities demonstrates the growing pluralism in Georgian democracy.
We acknowledge that in the majority of electoral districts the pre-election environment was calm and only minor complaints were registered, but note with concern reports of campaign incidents and allegations of pressure on candidates to withdraw and of aggression toward election officials in certain specific locations. We encourage the government to objectively investigate these allegations ahead of the second round of voting and to take any necessary steps to ensure that Georgia’s elections meet the highest international standards.
We will continue to observe the process closely, including the campaigning yet to come and the runoff elections. Meantime, we encourage all parties to work together to promote Georgia’s economic growth, strengthen democratic institutions, and advance Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations,` the statement says.