CDA Ambassador Ross Wilson’s Remarks to Media at the Conference “The 2018 Presidential Election: Lessons Learned and Steps Ahead” (M

CDA Ambassador Ross Wilson’s Remarks to Media at the Conference “The 2018 Presidential Election: Lessons Learned and Steps Ahead” (March 22)

Q-n about the event

Charge d’Affairs, Ambassador Wilson:  I am very pleased and honored to be at this conference today, to take a look at the lessons learned coming out of last year’s elections and the kind of steps Georgia should consider going forward to improve the conduct of elections and to strengthen democracy here.  I think I will save my full assessment for the remarks that I will make to the group in a few minutes.  I think, generally, Georgia has an excellent record of achievement in building a strong and democratic society over the course of nearly three decades.  The various international reports by OSCE, ODHIR, by the international observers, by domestic observers, and the Embassy’s own assessment point to a number of problems and issues that we think are fundamental for the success of this country, and the success of democracy here.  We will be discussing some of those, and certainly welcome the participation of members of Parliament, of civil society, other interested groups, and of course foreign diplomats who follow this matter.  I hope we will have a good discussion today.

Q-n: what are the problems you are talking about?

Charge d’Affairs, Ambassador Wilson: We will talk about the problems in there.  I think they have been pretty well identified and you will be hearing from me shortly.

Q-n: which one is a fundamental problem for this election?

Charge d’Affairs, Ambassador Wilson:  I think the right answer to your question is that there are many issues that are related to one another and the best way to discuss them is to discuss them as a package, which is what I will be doing and I think other speakers here will be doing that as well.  And I think, by the same token, the steps Georgia needs to take to strengthen democracy—to strengthen the conduct of elections—likewise isn’t one thing or two things or three things, it’s a package of things, it’s steps that need to be taken here to strengthen the culture of democracy.