04 December 2021,   06:00
Allegations of violence or intimidation should be investigated - NDI issues recommendations for the second round

National Democratic Institute (NDI) has published the report on Georgia’s Parliamentary Elections today.

Based on the report, “according to an analysis issued today by the National Democratic Institute, alleged irregularities in results protocols, widespread reports of potentially intimidating behavior in or around polling stations, delays in the publication of results and persistent perceptions of pre-election abuses of power detracted from notable improvements in the legal framework and administrative procedures for October 31, 2020 parliamentary elections”.

The NDI report makes 35 recommendations to improve Georgia’s electoral process. In advance of the runoff elections on November 21, it will be critical for Georgia’s electoral stakeholders to focus on the following:

Authorities should make extra efforts to swiftly and properly adjudicate submitted complaints and conduct recounts or reruns, where appropriate. They should also investigate allegations of violence or intimidation, as appropriate, prosecute them to the full extent of the law and take all measures necessary to prevent such practices in the future.
Parties and candidates should make every effort to provide adequate evidence to substantiate claims of electoral violations, abuse of state resources, or pressure and intimidation, and follow available procedures for seeking redress.
All stakeholders should respect and uphold the rights of nonpartisan independent observers to continue their oversight work without interference or intimidation.
 The CEC should reinforce the need for PECs to rigorously and consistently apply all prescribed procedures, including allocating responsibilities among commission members, ensuring vote secrecy, following inking procedures, and filling out protocols.
All stakeholders should make efforts to de-escalate tensions and facilitate a peaceful environment. Party leaders and candidates should renew their campaigns’ commitments to the code of conduct.
To safeguard voters’ access to balanced and reliable information, political parties and candidates should participate in a spectrum of debates and political programs to present their policies and plans to the public.
Before the run-off elections, campaigns should make every effort to safeguard public health as they conduct outreach to voters.

As the statement released by NDI notes, the election analysis report is based on virtual interviews with key stakeholders conducted October 22 – 31; input from remote long-term analysts; the Institute’s expertise and relationships developed over 25 years of programming in Georgia; and the findings of credible nonpartisan citizen monitors who were deployed throughout the country on October 31. It builds on NDI Georgia Election Watch reports issued on August 19, October 9 and October 20, 2020.