Joint statement of CSO’S on free and fair electoral environment - საერთაშორისო გამჭვირვალობა - საქართველო
GEO

Joint statement of CSO’S on free and fair electoral environment

21 July, 2016

 

On June 8, the Prime Minister of Georgia signed the decree of the President of Georgia announcing the date of the next parliamentary elections. Upon the promulgation of this decree, the pre-election campaign was officially launched, and the country switched to an extraordinary regime. As the campaign begins, it is important that the country’s institutions operate in an orderly manner to ensure that the parliamentary elections of October 8 are conducted in compliance with international standards. To achieve this goal, we appeal to the relevant state and non-state institutions to assume proper responsibility and duly exercise their rights and obligations. In particular, we appeal to:       

The central and local authorities of Georgia:

  • To take responsibility for conducting the elections in a calm and fair environment; to take into consideration that conducting the elections in an undemocratic and unfair environment is going to affect the country’s future prospects, including in terms of Georgia’s integration with NATO and the EU;
  • To refrain from using administrative resources for electoral purposes, inter alia, from carrying out social initiatives whose main objective is to gain votes and which do not serve the long-term goals of the country’s development;
  • To ensure freedom of the media, safe working environment and non-interference with journalistic activities as a critical  precondition for a fair pre-election environment;
  • To refrain from discrediting civil society organizations, especially those that work on electoral issues and make an important contribution to fair and democratic conduct of the elections.

Law enforcement agencies:

  • To ensure the safety of all stakeholders and timely and adequate response to violations of law, so that all political parties and independent candidates are able to conduct the election campaign in a calm environment;
  • To fulfill their obligations with full observance of political neutrality, inter alia, not to allow and prevent in a timely manner all acts of violence and to observe the public order and safety. The police and the Prosecutor’s Office should take fair and adequate measures in relation to persons who take part in criminal incidents.  

The State security service

  • Not to allow interference with the activities of political parties and/or exerting of influence on the election environment, and, for this purpose, to conduct effective internal monitoring on the activities of its own employees, in order to rule out cases of pressure on and intimidation of members, supporters, and activists of various political parties in Tbilisi and the regions.  

The Ministry of Justice:

  • To ensure that the Interagency Commission works effectively and impartially, including by means of constructive mediation of discussions held in the Commission;   
  • Not to create artificial barriers and to ensure that the State Audit Office has access to relevant databases.

The Election Administration:

  • To respond to the use of administrative resources for electoral purposes;
  • To properly examine the received complaints to avoid questions regarding the impartiality of this agency, as well as to ensure a uniform approach to examination of complaints in the election commissions of all levels; 
  • To assist monitoring organizations and other stakeholders in their work;
  • To pay particular attention to the involvement of ethnic minorities and persons with disabilities in the electoral process.

The State Audit Office:

  • To exercise effective and impartial monitoring of the funding of political parties and to periodically notify the public of the results of the monitoring.

Political parties:

  • To conduct the pre-election campaign on the basis of electoral platforms; to provide the public with as much information as possible about their platforms;
  • To base their pre-election campaigns on a positive agenda and to put as much emphasis as possible on future plans;
  • To pay as much attention as possible to informing ethnic minorities about their electoral platforms; 
  • To ensure that women are represented adequately in party lists and that representatives of ethnic minorities are included in these lists;
  • To refrain from  aggressive acts and provocations, as well as from involving party activists in such acts;   
  • To abandon the practice of discrediting opponents, including by means of disseminating information on private life or other similar information; to channel the relationship with opponents toward thematic discussions;
  • To respect human rights and to recognize the significance of building a law-governed, secular and democratic state, as well as to abandon the instrumentalization of various discriminated groups and to condemn the manipulation with the human rights situation of vulnerable groups for political purposes;  
  • To abandon the use of hate speech, as well as the practice of making xenophobic and homophobic statements; to make efforts to properly inform ethnic and religious minorities and other discriminated groups and to enhance their political participation;  
  • To share responsibility for peaceful conduct of elections and bear in mind that undemocratic conduct of the elections is going to affect the further development of the State of Georgia and the future of its integration with the EU; 
  • To spend funds in good faith, transparently, and in compliance with the requirements of law in the run-up to the elections and to abandon the practice of vote buying.

Media organizations:

  • To provide an  impartial coverage of the pre-election campaign and the polling day;
  • To provide voters with  information regarding the platforms and pledges of political parties and candidates; for this purpose, media outlets should ensure the broadcasting of relevant discussion programs; 
  • To provide voters with impartial, fact based information about irregularities in the run-up to the elections;
  • Not to discredit political parties intentionally and to act in the interests of the public;
  • To ensure equal access to media for political parties during the election period. 

Local monitoring organizations:

  • To observe neutrality and impartiality when observing the electoral processes;
  • To act professionally and not to be subjected to the influence of any political group.

Friendly countries and foreign monitoring missions:

  • To send long-term monitoring missions to observe the elections.

Signatory CSOs

1.         Transparency International Georgia (TI Georgia)

2.         International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED)

3.         Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association (GYLA)

4.         Economic Policy Research Center (EPRC)

5.         Human Rights Education and Monitoring Center (EMC)

6.         Article 42 of the Constitution

7.         Open Society Georgia Foundation (OSGF)

8.         Civil Development Agency (CiDA)

9.         Georgian Charter of Journalistic Ethics

10.       Human Rights Center

11.       Media Development Foundation (MDF)

12.       Atlantic Council of Georgia

13.       Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI)

14.       International Center for Civic Culture

15.       Center for Training and Consultancy (CTC)

16.       Civil Society and Democracy Development Center

17.       International Society “Civitas Georgica”

18.       Center for Development and Democracy

19.       Public Movement “Multinational Georgia”

20.       Georgian Association of Regional Broadcasters

21.       Public Advocacy

22.       Civil Integration Foundation

23.       Green Caucasus

24.       Studio “Re”

25.       Management Systems Development Center

26.       Local Democracy Network Center

27.       We for Sensible Future (Tserovani)

28.       Atinati (Zugdidi)

29.       Demosi (Rustavi)

30.       Association “Toleranti” (Akhaltsikhe)

31.       Association for Civil Society Development “Spectri” (Sagarejo)

32.       Racha-Lechkhumi and Lower Svaneti Municipality Resource Center (Ambrolauri)

33.       Anti-Violence Network of Georgia – Mtskheta-Mtianeti Regional Committee (Mtskheta)

34.       Association “Dea” (Zugdidi)

35.       Association “Imedi” – IDP Women’s Movement for Peace (Zugdidi)

36.       Georgian Democratic Development Union (Ozurgeti)

37.       Indigo (Rustavi)

38.       Development Fund for Tkibuli (Tkibuli)

39.       Regional Development Center  (Telavi)

40.       Step for Kharagauli (Kharagauli)

41.       Dusheti Development Fund (Dusheti)

42.       Our Pshavi (Pshavi)

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