Statement of the Embassy of the United States on the U.S. Government Response to the 2003 Georgian Parliamentary Elections (November 17)

Statement of the Embassy of the United States on the U.S. Government Response to the 2003 Georgian Parliamentary Elections (November 17)

Former President Mikheil Saakashvili’s statement that the U.S. government failed to timely condemn the 2003 Georgian Parliamentary Elections is inaccurate.  The State Department spokesperson expressed concern about the elections as early as November 3, 2003, and continued to express concern throughout the process of tabulating the vote count.  In addition, as the results were being tabulated, there were frequent high-level conversations with the Georgian government about the need to ensure concerns about the election were resolved in a credible, transparent manner.  Once the results of the Georgian election started to be announced on November 19, the State Department spokesperson immediately expressed disappointment with the results and with Georgia’s leadership.  The U.S. government released a formal statement November 21, 2003, the text of which may be found in the U.S. Department of State Archives at: https://2001-2009.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2003/26539.htm.  The statement reads, in part:

The United States is deeply disappointed in the conduct of Georgia’s November 2 Parliamentary elections, which failed to meet the commitments made by the Georgian leadership to the OSCE and to the United States.  The delay of the vote count and the manipulation of the results revealed an effort by the Central Election Commission and the Georgian government to ignore the will of the people.

Additional statements were made on behalf of the United States government at the OSCE.

In a November 13, 2003 statement released by the U.S. Mission to the OSCE, Douglas Davidson, Deputy Chief of U.S. Mission to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, urged “Georgian authorities to ensure that the voting this time is conducted in full accordance with the Unified Election Code and with international and OSCE standards of fairness and transparency.”

The OSCE statement may be found here: https://2001-2009.state.gov/p/eur/rls/rm/2003/26256.htm.