IRI Final Georgia Election Report Reveals Increased Participation, Need for Continued Reforms

Tbilisi, Georgia – Demonstrating its support for Georgia’s recent democratic advancements, the International Republican Institute (IRI) organized a Technical Election Assessment Mission (TEAM) to assess the country’s parliamentary elections in October 2020. Drawing from expert observations before, during and after Election Day, IRI has released its final report informed by six long-term analysts (LTAs) deployed to Georgia between September and November 2020.

“This October, Georgians took to the polls for the first time since passing key reforms to enhance the transparency and competition of future elections,” said IRI Regional Director for Eurasia Stephen Nix. “Though far from perfect, the reforms marked a milestone for Georgia and brought forth a more democratic and pluralistic pre-election period than in years past.”

During the mission, the LTAs engaged with government officials, political parties, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and election-commission officials to assess the election administration, campaign environment, legal framework, political inclusion and media space. Ultimately, the mission observed an electoral process that was mostly peaceful and competitive, and more politically diverse and transparent than previous parliamentary elections.

However, IRI’s TEAM report also found that though the Central Election Commission achieved success in educating and mobilizing voters amidst COVID-19, there were administration issues that impeded the integrity of the process. In addition, though voter turnout saw a marked increase since the 2016 elections, other irregularities did emerge during the electoral process.

The mission urges Georgian stakeholders to consolidate the democratic gains made prior to the 2020 elections by addressing the shortcomings identified by international observers and prioritize their recommendations.

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