The strong performance by opposition parties and second round runoffs in several municipalities and cities in “a successful and well-administered” election day “demonstrates the growing pluralism in Georgian democracy,” the embassies of the United States, United Kingdom, and the Netherlands said in their joint statement on Monday.
The three embassies carried out a joint observation of the June 15 local elections through 95 monitors in 23 electoral districts and by visiting over 600 polling stations.
In their joint statement, the embassies said that direct election of mayors of eleven cities and gamgebelis of 59 municipalities for the first time represents “historic step in strengthening local governance, and constitutes an important development ahead of the signature of an Association Agreement with the European Union on June 27.”
“Our observers noted the voting environment was calm overall with relatively few violations reported among the over 3,600” Precinct Election Commissions (PEC), reads the statement.
“We acknowledge that in the majority of electoral districts the pre-election environment was calm and only minor complaints were registered, but note with concern reports of campaign incidents and allegations of pressure on candidates to withdraw and of aggression toward election officials in certain specific locations.”
“We encourage the government to objectively investigate these allegations ahead of the second round of voting and to take any necessary steps to ensure that Georgia’s elections meet the highest international standards,” the statement says.
“We will continue to observe the process closely, including the campaigning yet to come and the runoff elections. Meantime, we encourage all parties to work together to promote Georgia’s economic growth, strengthen democratic institutions, and advance Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations,” reads the statement.