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Election in Georgia: controversial conclusions2010-06-01 23:55
OSCE observers in charge of election monitoring in Georgia have issued a report on serious violations at the time of the voting. According to the foreign experts, there were some systemic violations in some regions including ballot box stuffing and significant procedural errors in the vote count. However, later the European observers remarked in their joint statement that on the whole Georgian elections had been transparent and democratic. Was it an attempt to smooth out rough edges the opposition is referring to?
A communiqué the OSCE recently published states that the observers have registered systemic irregularities noted on May 30 local election in Georgia. "Systemic irregularities in some regions including ballot box stuffing and procedural errors in vote count occurred on the election day", - the document runs.
Judging by the statements made by the opposition there were much more violations of the Election Code during the election. These are unsealed envelopes containing ballots, video cameras located next to polling booths, and authorization to vote without identity declaration. Moreover, the Alliance for Georgia, Movement for Fair Georgia and the Conservatives reported on unrealistic turnout in some polling stations, water marking of those who voted and pressure on voters from the ruling party's campaigners at the entrance to the polling stations.
It is strange why international organizations neglect sheer violation of voting rules on the part of president Mikheil Saakashvili who declared on the election day that the National Movement he is in charge of will win. "As the chairman of the National Movement I have no doubt that this party will win", - Saakashvili said. - This must not be surprising to anyone since the ruling party will win election as long as there is continued movement that does not turn into immobility, as long as the country is ready to seek a better life".
OSCE representatives have also ignored an incident in Batumi in which an observer from the Association of Young Lawyers NGO (Georgia) was beaten. The young man had found that the number of ballots at the polling station exceeds the number of registered voters. He filed a protest on the issue and was beaten by a member of the polling station committee as a result.
Remarkably, later the international monitors tried to rephrase harsh statements they had made earlier. Summing up preliminary results of the local election in Georgia and first direct mayoral election in Tbilisi, OSCE, EU and Council of Europe experts stated that on the whole the election in Georgia had been held in a transparent and democratic manner with evident progress comparing to previous campaigns.