OSCE observation mission published interim report on Georgian elections
OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights Election Observation Mission has published an interim report about the upcoming parliamentary elections in Georgia.
The report says that `in these elections, the United National Movement (UNM), governing Georgia since 2003, is challenged, among others contestants, by Bidzina Ivanishvili – Georgian Dream (GD), a coalition of six opposition parties promoting widely varying political views.
Party and campaign finance became a prominent issue in the campaign after billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili’s announcement on 7 October 2011 of his decision to enter politics.
The campaign environment is polarized. While the UNM has expressed commitment to conduct elections in full compliance with standards, the GD has expressed a lack of trust in the electoral process, raising concerns about abuse of administrative resources and intimidation of supporters. All contestants focus on door-to-door canvassing, rallies and TV spots. The UNM also runs a campaign with numerous types of billboards across Georgia.
At times, the focus of the campaign is on the advantages of incumbency, on the one hand, and private financial resources, on the other, rather than on concrete political platforms. Some domestic interlocutors assess the Law on Political Unions and its rigorous enforcement by the State Audit Office (SAO) as efforts to constrain the political activities of the GD, while others indicate that these efforts aim to bar ‘big money’ from influencing political choices,` the report says.