Following U.S. embassy’s statement that it is “increasingly concerned” over campaign incidents ahead of the June 15 municipal elections, the Georgian government said it is committed to holding of free and fair elections and every incident would be reacted appropriately.
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“Holding of local elections in a transparent, democratic and free electoral environment is one of the key challenges on the path of country’s democratic development. We welcome engagement of the international community in this process,” the government’s administration said in a written statement on June 9, adding that it is confident upcoming local elections will be held at “highest standards” similar to 2013 presidential election.
“We have created all the conditions for the people to have possibility to make free choice and to hold elections in healthy political competition and in the calm and democratic environment,” reads the statement.
“Any action be it pressure or threat against political opponents, or aggression against election administration, no matter by which political party, directly threatens the principle of fair elections and damages the reputation of the authorities. We are strongly against any violence. Not a single violation of law will remain without legal assessment; law enforcement agencies are studying each specific case and will react appropriately on them,” the government said.
“As far as decisions of the Central Election Commission are concerned, we state it unambiguously that this is an independent body and the government does not interfere with its work,” it said.
The Interior Ministry also released a statement on June 9 calling on all the political forces to “refrain from provocative actions.” It said that the police have “reacted” to all the reported cases of incidents and culprits “will be punished in accordance to the law.”
In the most recent incident, which occurred on June 9 after these statement were released, less than dozen of men started throwing eggs at UNM leaders, among them Giga Bokeria, as they were arriving at an election campaign meeting in the small town of Tsageri in Racha-Lechkhumi region in western Georgia.
UNM, which said that attackers were GD supporters and activists, called on the government to stop “this campaign of pressure on political opponents.”