Tbilisi, 04 October 2021 - The European Network of Election Monitoring Organizations (ENEMO) - ENEMO preliminarily assesses that the 2021 local elections were held in line with the domestic legislation, which does guarantee the conduct of democratic elections, if implemented in good faith. The campaign was highly polarized, in line with the overall high political polarization in the country, and dominated by topics related to overall national politics, to the detriment of discussion and competing on proposals for resolving local issues and needs of citizens and their communities. Allegations of pressure and intimidation on voters and candidates marred the campaign. Elections were administered efficiently and transparently. The atmosphere inside polling stations was mostly calm, however, ENEMO observers noted, especially in rural areas, partisan activities in the vicinity of polling stations with possible influence on voters.” said Mr. Dritan Taulla, Head of the ENEMO Mission to Georgia for Local Elections, 02 October 2021.
“The June 2021 legal amendments that followed the 19 April agreement were overall positive and addressed a number of previous recommendations from international and domestic stakeholders. However, the legal framework could further benefit from a comprehensive reform. It should be noted that amending the legal framework shortly before an election is not a recommended practice, especially if the amendments are essential in nature, as it negatively affects the stability of the law while also placing extra burden on election management bodies.” said Ms. Cristina Chebes, Legal Analyst.
As Mr. Stanislav Zholudiev, Election Analyst/CEC Observer stated: “The CEC complied with all the legal deadlines for the preparation and conduct of the Municipal Elections, managed elections efficiently and introduced pilot projects paving the way to the use of technology in future elections, despite challenges posed by the newly introduced amendments and the Covid-19 pandemic. The CEC held regular meetings open to representatives of electoral contestants, and broadcasted meetings live, which contributed to improved transparency.”
According to Mr. Momcilo Radulovic, Political/Election Campaign Analyst: “The campaign was highly polarized, in line with the overall high political polarization in the country. There was a dominant presence of topics related to overall national politics, to the detriment of discussion and competing on proposals for resolving local issues and needs of citizens and their communities. A number of state officials took part in supporting the ruling party in their campaigning through statements or other activities, which, combined with inequality in resources and presentation of national and local projects financed from the public funds contributed to an uneven playing filed, provided an advantage to the ruling party, and blurred the line between the state and the party.
“Elections were reasonably well administered at the PEC level, in challenging circumstances of COVID-19 pandemic and recently amended legal framework. Election day proceeded smoothly and in an orderly manner. Procedures were largely followed, however, instances of breaches of the secrecy of vote were observed. The atmosphere inside polling stations was mostly calm, however, ENEMO observers noted, especially in rural areas, partisan activities in the vicinity of polling stations with possible influence on voters” said Mr. Peter Novotny, Election Analyst/CEC Observer.
The project “Support of the International Election Observation Mission during the Local Elections in Georgia” implemented from 8th September 2021 to 31st December 2021 was carried out from the funds of the official development aid of the Slovak Republic. The content of the document is the sole responsibility of ENEMO and does not necessarily represent the position of the donors.