The U.S. Embassy welcomes the high voter turnout during yesterday’s parliamentary elections and applauds the people of Georgia for their dedication to democracy even amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Thousands of responsible election workers and professional observation groups around the country deserve recognition and thanks for their work supporting voters’ right to be heard through the ballot box.
The U.S. Embassy shares OSCE/ODIHR’s initial assessment that “Georgia’s parliamentary elections were competitive and, overall, fundamental freedoms were respected. Nevertheless, pervasive allegations of pressure on voters and blurring of the line between the ruling party and the state reduced public confidence in some aspects of the process.” We call on all parties to address these deficiencies in advance of the second round and in future elections. These efforts to corrupt the electoral process through voter intimidation, vote buying, interfering with ballot secrecy, blurring of party and official activities, and violence against election observers and journalists, while not sufficient to invalidate the results, continue to mar Georgia’s electoral process and are unacceptable.
We support voters’ and parties’ use of the existing legal procedures for filing their complaints regarding the election. It is imperative that appropriate authorities impartially investigate all documented election-related violations and address complaints in accordance with Georgian law. Resolving credible complaints in a fair, transparent, and timely manner is an important part of ensuring the people of Georgia can have confidence in the legitimacy of the election results.
The United States will continue to monitor closely the election’s progress, including the complaints and appeals process and the next round of campaigning and voting. We ask Georgia’s citizens to be patient and allow the process to be conducted in a calm, peaceful, and respectful manner in accordance with Georgian law and international standards and practices. It is the responsibility of all sides to ensure the electoral code is implemented and enforced.
The electoral reforms adopted in advance of this election addressed some of the flaws identified with previous elections. We call on the next parliament to enact additional reforms to address the shortcomings spelled out by ODIHR in its election assessments. As always, the United States will continue to support Georgia’s efforts to improve its electoral process and build a stronger democracy.