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IRI Deploys Long Term Observation Team for Georgian Parliamentary Elections

Election Day, especially in a country that is barely more than a decade from its democratic transition, and only four years removed from its first peaceful transfer of power, is always a crucial test of a political system’s resiliency. 

In Georgia, that first peaceful transfer of power occurred a single political cycle ago, when the United National Movement lost to the current ruling Georgian Dream Coalition. 

In the four years since the last parliamentary elections, the governing coalition has consolidated its power, winning the presidency, and a large majority of local council seats, and has greatly matured in its ability to govern effectively.  Despite this, there remains a large part of the population that is concerned that the government has not done enough to improve the country’s economic situation and provide jobs (see IRI’s latest poll HERE).  In the last six months, the Coalition has splintered, with three key member parties (Republicans, Conservatives, and National Forum) all deciding to contest the elections on their own instead of as part of the Coalition.  Combined with the steady popularity of the United National Movement, the strong popularity of former Coalition-member Free Democrats, and the rise of a popular third party (State for the People), it appears that this election will be much more tightly contested, at least for party list seats, than many predicted just a few months ago. 

Recognizing the importance of this election for all political actors, both the Georgian government and the opposition have repeatedly requested an international presence to monitor the conduct of the election, both on Election Day and in the months leading up to it.  With a long history of election observation in Georgia, including long- and short-term observations during the 2012 parliamentary election, IRI is proud to answer that call. 

Beginning August 1, IRI’s experienced team of international long term observers, deployed in pairs to six strategic regional cities, will be responsible for engaging with political party leaders, elected officials, and civil society activists at a local level.  Observers will not interfere with the pre-election and Election Day processes, they will provide a neutral ear for complaints and concerns during the ongoing campaign period, pursuant to the guidelines set forth in the United Nations Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation, to which IRI is a signatory.  The team will stay in place through the second round of voting, expected to take place in late October. 

IRI’s team will include twelve members from ten countries:

Matteo Bezzi – Italy
Roger Bryant – United Kingdom
Elenora Bulat – Moldova
Gabriele Cekuole – Lithuania
Zoran Ilievski – Macedonia
Milan Kuksa – Czech Republic
Marko Logar – Slovenia
Sonia Mickevicius – Canada
Jessica Nash – United States
Jeremy Pine – United States
Rachel Santos – United States
Sławomir Szyszka - Poland

We are proud to be able to deploy such a diverse group of international observers to help Georgian people in their path to establishing a fully-consolidated democracy.