European People’s Party calls on Georgian gov’t to guarantee free, fair run-offs

The European People’s Party (EPP), which is the largest group in the European Parliament, calls on the Georgian government ‘to improve the political environment’ as well as to guarantee free and fair elections in the second round of the municipal elections and ‘to stop the persecution of political opponents’.

Recent elections in Georgia have raised our concerns over the state of democracy and freedom in the country.

The reports of international observers underlined reduced democratic standards, a lack of free and fair election environment, an uneven playing field, misuse of administrative resources, violations and hate speech”, the EPP has stated earlier today.

It also notes that ‘the arrest and political persecution’ of former President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili ‘further increases the tensions and political polarisation within the country’. 

Georgian opposition United National Movement has meanwhile tweeted:

@EPP: Recent elections in Georgia???????? have raised our concerns over the state of democracy and freedom in the country.

— UNM Georgia (???) (@UNMGeorgia) October 6, 2021

Over the last few days, leading figures of the ruling party have made intolerant and provocative speeches, once again highlights the politically motivated justice in Georgia, which remains our deep concern’, EPP adds. 

Saying that the Georgian people ‘deserve a better future, with the end of political confrontation and the return to a constructive agenda, which would speed up the country’s reform process’, the group plans to ‘closely monitor’ the second round, ‘where the fate of the big cities will be decided’. 

The Georgian Central Election Commission (CEC) says that the October 2 municipal elections in Georgia have been held in line with democratic standards and that they have taken all measures to prevent imbalances between ballots cast and signatures of registered voters. The CEC also promises to hold the second round of elections in line with high standards.