Ambassador Kelly Degnan’s Remarks to Media at Parliament

Q-n about the event

Ambassador Kelly Degnan: This was a very useful and important meeting of the working group, and we appreciate having a chance to continue the discussion about this critically important draft legislation. It is designed to further strengthen Georgia’s judicial process by improving transparency and accountability even further. There have been some good recommendations from Venice Commission, the United States the European Union, and other friends of Georgia on how to help Georgia further improve its judicial system.

Q-n about the importance of having all parties sign the CEC Code of Conduct 

Ambassador Kelly Degnan: This is a very important initiative and I command CEC for taking this on. The Code of Conduct as I understand it reflects some basic principles that are going to be very important in ensuring free and fair and transparent elections, and so, I encourage parties to take it very seriously and to sign on to it.

Q-n about the GORBI poll results according to which the UNM has 11% of support, how do you assess the trustworthiness of election polls?

Ambassador Kelly Degnan: In an election season, we see variety of polls, as we have this summer and leading up until the elections. Polls that are done responsibly and according to accepted methodologies provide very useful information both for voters and for parties, to help parties better understand what the priorities of the voters are. So I think when they are well done, when they are done according to accepted methodologies, these polls can be extremely important in helping people go to the ballots well-informed about what the parties are offering and promising and what their visions are for the future.

Q-n about the staffing of district election commissions that have already been completed and there are some concerns regarding the independent members of the commissions who allegedly are GD affiliates

Ambassador Kelly Degnan: I don’t have a lot of information on that. I would have to look into that more, but certainly the idea of, at all levels, having representative polling commissions and polling stations is going to be very important. Fundamentally, what these regulations are trying to encourage is confidence, both in voters coming out to vote and in people participating in the electoral process in general, so that there can be confidence in the outcome of these elections, and I think the CEC is working very hard to ensure that people will participate despite COVID. A lot of very important measures are being taken to make sure it is safe for people to work at the polling stations and people to vote, and in the end, I think that is going to be an important determiner for confidence in the outcome of the elections.