28 January 2021,   08:23
The greatest threat to elections and democracy is the growing polarization – Zourabichvili

In her address to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the President of Georgia spoke about the importance of free and fair elections and said that Georgia had improved conditions for free and fair elections.

According to Salome Zourabichvili, “the path of democracy goes through free and fair elections”.

“But we should not forget that the biggest challenge to holding free and fair elections and to democracy in general is the progressive and extensive polarization in the political life, which in the end affects all aspects of the society as cancer invades all healthy cells of the body.

Nonacceptance of different opinions, aggression and hate speech divide our societies, antagonize individuals, fuel distrust and division. Coupled with fake news and disinformation, polarization becomes a fertile ground for outside influence during election campaigns and beyond.

Now we have a choice here. The choice is to respect the freedom of expression of social media or to start restricting. We are not among the countries that have started to restrict in any way. I"ve been myself one of the promoters of the platform in the presidency to try to tackle the issues of disinformation, of fake news, of hate speech, because all of that goes together and we are entering the phase of political elections, parliamentary elections that are coming in October.

We have a very strong neighbour that can use and has used in other countries disinformation or fake news. So we need some form of regulation while respecting freedom of expression. That"s a difficult task. I"m offering the presidential platform for that, which is neutral and can accept all political parties, but I"m also ready to support any other attempt to tackle this issue”, - said the President.