Pompeo: US to Observe Elections in Georgia

As Pompeo visits Georgia, thousands protest over election results

Pompeo: US to Observe Elections in Georgia

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The US State Department will send volunteers to Georgia to observe the parliamentary elections on October 31. This is stated in a letter from US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Georgian Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani, who previously invited him to come to Georgia to participate in monitoring the electoral process in the Georgian legislative body..

According to the letter from the Secretary of State, the volunteers will join the OSCE Office for Human Rights and Democratic Institutions (ODIHR) mission, which will include 378 people..

According to Pompeo, the State Department is also working with the International Republican Institute (IRI) and the National Democratic Institute (NDI) to find an alternative solution that will allow them to observe the Georgian elections..

It is noteworthy that earlier these two organizations stated that due to the pandemic they would not be able to send their observers to Georgia on October 31.

Also, according to the Secretary of State, representatives of the US Embassy in Georgia will observe the voting process..

Mike Pompeo expressed solidarity with the Georgian Foreign Minister in his position on the importance of holding “free, fair and transparent elections in accordance with international standards and best practices.”.

“A competitive environment, accurate implementation of electoral reforms, respect for fundamental human rights and freedoms, the rights to assembly and association are important both on election day and before and after elections,” the Secretary of State said in a letter.

“Unprecedented elections”

The head of the Georgian Foreign Ministry thanked his American counterpart for the positive assessment of the steps taken by the Georgian authorities to conduct the elections in accordance with the highest standards. Zalkaliani also expressed gratitude for the willingness of the United States to send observers to Georgia, despite the difficulties caused by the pandemic, to help the Georgian government carry out democratic reforms “through close and active cooperation.”.

In turn, the Speaker of the Georgian Parliament Archil Talakvadze welcomed the fact that numerous international delegations will observe the Georgian elections and expressed confidence that the pandemic will not interfere with the voting on October 31 according to the highest standards..

“We welcome Mike Pompeo’s statement on international observers, we want as many observers as possible to see that we are holding unprecedented elections in Georgia,” Talakvadze said on September 17

Party ratings and elections

As a result of the previously adopted constitutional amendments, during the October elections, 120 deputies will be elected to the Georgian parliament by proportional lists, 30 by majority. Also in the elections, a 1% passing threshold and a 40% threshold were set for the formation of a parliamentary majority by the party. 66 parties have registered to participate in the upcoming elections, although, according to polls, no more than ten of them have a chance to get into parliament..

According to the latest research by the International Republican Institute (IRI) (an American non-governmental organization that supports the development of political parties, civil society, free and fair elections), published on September 17, the support of Georgian voters was distributed as follows: the ruling Georgian Dream – 36%, the opposition party “ United National Movement “, the leader of which is ex-President Mikhail Saakashvili – 15%,” European Georgia “- 4%,” For New Georgia “- 4% and the pro-Russian” Alliance of Patriots “- 3%. At the same time, 5% of those interviewed by IRI said that they would not vote for any of the parties, and 25% said that they had not yet decided on their choice..

At the same time, 74% of IRI respondents announced their firm intention to vote, and 16% that they are likely to go to the elections on October 31.

Achievements and challenges

At the same time, 17% of the IRI survey participants could not answer the question – “What is the main achievement of the current government?” 22% named the fight of the Georgian government against the coronavirus; 12% – health care reform, and the majority, ie 26% of respondents, believe that the ruling Georgian Dream has no achievements.

As for the “biggest failures” of the “Georgian Dream”, 10% of the IRI survey participants named unemployment, 9% – the economic situation, 9% – false promises, 6% – the increase in crime. At the same time, 9% of respondents said that the ruling party has no failures, and 25% found it difficult to answer.

It is noteworthy that compared to the IRI survey conducted in October last year, the number of people who believe that the country is moving in the right direction has increased from 22% to 35% in August. At the same time, 54% of IRI respondents are dissatisfied with the dynamics of Georgia’s development (68% in October 2019), and 12% were undecided about the answer. At the same time, 51% of the IRI poll participants are satisfied with the level of democracy in Georgia, although 44% hold the opposite opinion. Among the problems that most worry the population of Georgia are unemployment (31%), the economy (15%), poverty (8%), low wages (6%).

The IRI case study was conducted from 4 to 21 August. It was attended by 1,500 people. The statistical error of the survey is 2.5 percentage points.

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