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Observers Hail Elections, but Note Shortcomings
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 6 Oct.'06 / 16:30

Municipal elections in Georgia were conducted with general respect for fundamental freedoms; however, the blurred distinction between the ruling authorities and the leading party reinforced the advantage of the incumbents, a preliminary conclusion of international observers from the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) and the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe says.

"We appreciate the efforts of the authorities to conduct the process in a professional and inclusive manner and welcome the readiness of Georgia to continue international co-operation on bringing further improvements to the electoral practice to fully meet all OSCE and other international commitments," Ambassador Geert Ahrens, headed of the Limited Election Observation Mission from the OSCE/ODIHR, said on October 6. 

"We have observed significant progress in the conduct of voting," Wim van Gelder, Head of Delegation of the Congress said.

But he also said that preliminary turnout figures show that “progress is still to be made to ensure broader participation of citizens and political forces in local affairs."

The preliminary conclusion also says that “despite commendable efforts undertaken by the authorities to improve the accuracy of the voters’ lists, a number of voters did not find their names on the register.”

A final report by the ODIHR will be issued after two months after the completion of the entire election process.

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