EU Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Štefan Füle (right) receives Georgia’s PM Vano Merabishvili (left) in Brussels, September 3. Photo: European Commission Audiovisual Services
October 1 parliamentary elections will be “crucial” for Georgia’s democratic development and “will set stage for the quality and intensity” of EU-Georgia relations in the future, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton and Štefan Füle, EU Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood said in a joint statement on September 3.
Füle met with visiting Georgian PM Vano Merabishvili in Brussels on September 3.
In the statement the EU called on both the government and the opposition “to continue to ensure a peaceful, enabling and competitive electoral environment and also a healthy media environment.”
“We are concerned about the growing polarisation and tension in this context - elections should be first of all about political programmes and ideas,” the statement reads. “We stress the responsibility that lies with both the government and the opposition to ensure a proper conduct and therefore legitimacy of the elections.”
“The electoral law has to be respected, and it must be applied in a way that maintains confidence in the fairness of the electoral process and the rule of law.”
“All parties and candidates should contribute to a calm and conducive election environment, refraining from actions and inflammatory statements that might further escalate an already tense environment and sow doubts about the results,” the statement reads.
Also on September 3, Georgian PM Merabishvili met with President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy, who also underlined that the upcoming elections would be crucial in terms of democratic development.
He also stressed the importance to ensure a proper electoral framework and voiced some concern with growing tension in the pre-electoral environment.