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Georgia: Elections

Volume 471: debated on Friday 1 February 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the conduct of the recent presidential elections in Georgia. (183460)

The Government accept the assessment of the International Election Observation Mission (IEOM), led by the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE)/Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR). On 6 January, the IEOM reported in their preliminary findings that the election process

“was in essence consistent with most OSCE and Council of Europe commitments and standards for democratic elections, [but] significant challenges were revealed which need to be addressed urgently.”

The final assessment of the election, which has not yet been issued, depends, in part, on the conduct of the concluding stages of the election process, including the tabulation and announcement of final results and the handling of possible post-election day complaints or appeals. The indications from the OSCE/ODIHR post-election interim report of 18 January are that there were a number of problems in these areas. The OSCE/ODIHR will issue a comprehensive final report in the coming weeks.

We, and our EU partners, have urged Georgia to take all necessary steps to address the identified shortcomings in order to ensure successful parliamentary elections later this year. As I said in a public statement on the elections on 7 January, Georgia needs to do more to reinforce the independence of state institutions in a political campaign environment and to strengthen the freedom and pluralism of the media, as well as the independence of the judiciary.