OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) is not likely to deploy its observers in Georgia to monitor the June 15 local elections because of financial reasons.
ODIHR’s spokesperson, Thomas Rymer, told Civil.ge in an email on April 14 that the organization received an invitation from the Georgian authorities to observe the local elections.
“Unfortunately, given the fact that the OSCE annual unified budget for 2014 has still yet to be agreed, our Office has had to reply that we would not be able to send a mission to observe the elections due to financial reasons,” Rymer said. “In the event that the budget is passed in the near future, we might be able to reconsider this decision, but the deployment of an observation mission for these elections seems unlikely at this point.”
Earlier on April 14 Georgian Foreign Minister, Maia Panjikidze, told journalists that ODIHR “may not send observers because these are the local elections and it does not fall within its [ODIHR's] competence.” ODIHR deployed both long-term and short-term observation missions for Georgia’s local elections in 2010 and “limited” observation mission was deployed in 2006.
After Panjikidze’s these remarks with journalists, the Foreign Ministry released a written statement saying that Georgia invited observers from OSCE’s democracy and rights arm in February and again in March, but received a response that it was not likely to deploy the mission because of the budget-related problems. The Georgian Foreign Ministry also said that observers from the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe would arrive to monitor Georgia’s local elections.