Forthcoming presidential elections will be test of maturity of Georgian democracy, MEPs

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"We consider the forthcoming presidential elections as a test of the maturity of Georgian democracy," says a statement released on 5 June by a seven-member delegation of the European Parliament following the visit in Georgia.

The delegation of Members of the European Parliament paid a two-day visit to Georgia on 3 June. During the visit MEPs met with Georgia's President, Prime Minister, Chairman of Parliament, Interior and Justice Ministers. MEP Krzysztof Lisek also met with the Secretary General of the United National Movement and former Prime Minister Vano Merabishvili, now in pretrial detention, in the prison.

The European Parliament delegation expresses concern about a high level of political and social polarization observed between supporters of the ruling party and supporters of the opposition party. In this context, the European legislators stress the importance of the reform in the judiciary.

"We believe that the widespread demand for justice should be accomplished through the reaffirmation of the rule of law, due process and fight of impunity, not only through statements but also through tangible actions so as to avoid allegations of politically motivated prosecutions," reads the statement.

The MEPs have condemned the violent attack of a peaceful rally against homophobia by religious activists, including priests, on 17 May in Tbilisi. "We take note of the condemnation of violence during the events of 17 May by representatives of both the government and the opposition and are alarmed by the rise of hate speech and hate crimes against minorities and vulnerable groups. We encourage Georgian politicians to work towards enforcement of the highest European standards against hate speech and discrimination and expect due prosecution of perpetrators of such acts," say the MEPs adding that they look forward to the draft of a comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation.

The members of the European Parliament declare that the forthcoming presidential elections in Georgia will be "a test of the maturity" of the country's democracy.

"We recall that constructive, peaceful and dialectic cohabitation is also a sign of democracy. The European Parliament remains a firm supporter of Georgia, and of strengthening of EU-Georgia relations and is ready to assist Georgia on its further democratisation and modernization path," says the statement.

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