IRI: Georgian elections put new reforms to test, brought to light shortcomings that gov’t must address before run-offs

  • The International republican Institute (IRI) conducted a Technical Election Assessment mission (TEAM) during Georgia’s October 31 parliamentary elections. Photo: IRI, 17 Nov 2020 - 20:02, Tbilisi,Georgia

The International Republican Institute (IRI) said in its interim report that the ‘significant constitutional and election reforms’ adopted by the Georgian government earlier this year aimed at encouraging multiparty democracy and coalition rule, ‘were affected by credible reports of irregularities in the campaign period and on Election Day’.

IRI also noted in its assessments of the recent parliamentary elections that “the most concerning irregularities’ reported by observers were allegations regarding:

  • the misuse of state administrative resources 
  • vote buying
  • intimidation of voters and observer groups,
  • manipulation of precinct-level summary protocols

Stating that ‘the elections were conducted according to prescribed laws and were generally held in a peaceful environment’ IRI also noted that the parliamentary elections ‘were competitive, conducted professionally and with respect for citizens’ rights as prescribed in the constitution of Georgia’.

From a procedural standpoint, a flawed results-management system that is susceptible to manipulation has further weakened public confidence in Georgia’s electoral institutions and has exposed a trend of increasing citizen concern over the independence and professionalism of the [Central Election Commission] CEC, particularly at the subnational level”, it meanwhile said. 

IRI further noted that ‘in the long term, Georgia’s new government will need to work together to enact further reforms to ensure future elections are conducted with greater integrity’.

It added as well that ‘there is time in the near term for Georgia to address shortcomings identified by credible observers and work to repair public trust prior to the November 21 runoff election’.

IRI conducted a Technical Election Assessment mission (TEAM) during Georgia’s October 31 parliamentary elections. The report, analysing the conduct and integrity of the electoral process in Georgia before, during and after the elections, ‘is informed by six long-term analysts (LTAs) based in Tbilisi’.