The National Democratic Institute has published its final observational report on 2016 Parliamentary Elections of Georgia. The report says that during the elections there was an open political environment and a competitive campaign. The report also says that “parties and candidates gained access to the ballot listing without facing unreasonable restrictions or discrimination”.
However according to NDI there were some underlying problems that need further attention.
“Georgians had the freedom to form and join political parties. Parties and candidates gained access to the ballot without facing unreasonable restrictions or discrimination. They were able to campaign throughout the country, were free to express their messages to the public, and had adequate opportunities to do so, particularly given Georgia’s vibrant and pluralistic media environment. Citizens were able to exercise their voting rights freely. These are commendable credentials”, says the report.
NDI then added that the elections have, however, brought to light some problems.
“The most pressing of these were incidents of violence and intimidation that occurred throughout the process; concerns about the qualifications, neutrality, and competence of some polling station commissioners; and questions about the impartiality and consistency of adjudication measures.”
Regarding the violent incidents NDI suggests that, “those who have violated laws should be charged and prosecuted proportionately, consistently, and expeditiously to ensure a deterrence for future elections.”
NDI also added that, “the CEC and Ministry of Internal Affairs should reinforce training on electoral security for law enforcement personnel, and the police should be prepared to deploy to areas and situations at high risk for violence to defuse tensions in future elections.”
According to Central Electoral Commission three parties crossed the 5% threshold - Georgian Dream with 48.65% (856,762 votes), United National Movement with 27.12% (477 596 votes) and the Patriots’ Alliance with 5% of the vote (88,109 votes).