EU announces deployment of European diplomatic watch for Georgian parliamentary elections

EU Ambassador to Georgia Carl Hartzell encourages all voters to make their voices heard on Saturday 'in a safe and secure manner'. Photo: EU Delegation to Georgia/Twitter, 29 Oct 2020 - 21:32, Tbilisi,Georgia

The European Union has announced today the deployment of a European diplomatic watch, which will send over 70  teams to visit over 1,000 polling stations in Georgia on the election day on October 31.

The diplomatic watch will be composed of members of the EU Delegation to Georgia, the EU Member State embassies of Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, Sweden, Norway and Switzerland. 

The teams will support the ongoing OSCE/ODIHR election observation mission, which has limited its mission in Georgia amid the COVID-19 pandemic and associated travel and health restrictions.

EU Ambassador to Georgia Carl Hartzell stated earlier today that ‘what is most important for us, and for EU-Georgia relations, is not who will win these elections, but how these elections will be won’. 

For the first time, elections will be held per a mixed electoral system, with 120 members of parliament to be elected via party lists and the remaining 30 running in single-member majoritarian districts. Photo: Nino Alavidze/

On Election Day we will be taking on an unprecedented role to actively monitor the conduct of these elections. Together with our Member States and European partners, we will be coordinating a massive Diplomatic Watch effort”, Carl Hartzell said. 

Travelling in specially EU marked cars and wearing EU marked vests and hats, the diplomatic watch teams will follow all relevant COVID-19 safety precautions.

Looking at the upcoming elections, I think it’s important to recall that they will be held under a new electoral system, made possible by the historic agreement reached between key political actors on 8 March, and later supported by almost the full political spectrum”, Hartzell said.

He said 'this means that the basic parameters underlying these elections now enjoy wide support and confidence, which is an important achievement contributing to the integrity of the political process'.

Statement of EU Ambassador Carl Hartzell on the upcoming parliamentary elections:

Meanwhile, the EU Ambassador hopes for ‘more constructive policy debates and an improved culture of consensus-building’ for the fully proportional elections in 2024.  

What happens on Election Day will be important. Apart from the proper conduct of administration and enforcement institutions, much will depend on the political parties, who should continue working with their activists and supporters to uphold the highest possible ethical standards”, the Ambassador said.

He said 'one element is to avoid physical confrontations and escalations' and that 'a safe space around the polling stations devoid of intimidation should be the aim'. 

Noting that ‘the preparation for these elections has been unusually difficult due to the global pandemic situation’, Carl Hartzell thanked everyone who has been working to make sure that these elections will be carried out in a safe manner.

This is a testament to the EU’s unwavering support to the democracy here in Georgia, and it is the demonstration of our readiness to walk the extra mile to make sure that we can instil some further trust in these elections by providing international eyes and ears”, Carl Hartzell stated.

Encouraged all voters to make their voices heard on Saturday 'in a safe and secure manner', Ambassador Hartzell said the EU and its member states 'will pay close attention to all these aspects', as they conduct our European diplomatic watch on election day.