Burjanadze: Elections Test for Georgia
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 20 May.'08 / 16:16

Burjanadze hit a blow to ruling party last month when she withdrew from the race. Photo: InterPressNews

Nino Burjanadze, a chairperson of the outgoing parliament, called for high voter turnout on May 21 parliamentary polls and said it would ensure free and fair elections.

Speaking in a televised address to the nation, Burjanadze called on central and local authorities in the provinces to create conditions for democratic elections.

“First of all, I want to address the authorities and the officials, especially local authorities and law enforcement agencies – tomorrow will be a test for our country, our democracy. Your duty is to create all the necessary conditions to ensure that each citizen has a possibility to make a free choice,” Burjanadze said.

In her address she reiterated twice importance of high voter turnout and said: “I want to ask our compatriots to participate in the elections, to enjoy their key constitutional right because just high [voter] turnout is one of the major guarantees for holding fair and free elections.”

“All those public officials, who in a pre-election period or on the election day even slightly breach their duties or misuse power should be strictly held responsible before the law. Each public official should know it. Those, who try to rig the elections or bring them to a deadlock, should be punished strictly in accordance to the law.”

She also called on the Central Election Commission and lower level election administrations to act impartially and added that election commission members “bear the huge responsibility.”

“Not a single justified appeal should remain without adequate and duly reaction,” Burjanadze said. “Correct and duly discussion of [election] complaints is one of the key preconditions for holding elections in a stable and democratic environment.”

Burjanadze called on the opposition parties to contribute to calm electoral process “and to resolve any complaint under the rule established by the law.”

“Everybody should understand that there are winners and losers in the elections. And even if the result is unacceptable for any political force and if this result objectively reflects the mood and choice of the Georgian population, it should be accepted and respected by everyone,” she said.

“I, as the Parliamentary Chairperson, will do my utmost to ensure that the key constitutional right of a citizen to make a free choice is protected.”

Burjanadze kept a low profile since she surprisingly announced on April 21 that she was pulling out from the election race and would not seek re-election in the new parliament under the ruling party’s list. She made it clear that disagreement over party list with the ruing party was reason behind her decision, but also said that she did not plan going into opposition. Burjanadze did not say anything since then about her long-term plans.

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