Washington, DC – IRI today announced it will monitor Georgia’s January 5, 2008, presidential election.  Delegates will travel to Georgia to monitor voting and ballot counting throughout the country.  Following the voting, IRI will issue a statement on the findings of the delegation.

IRI’s delegation will be led by The Honorable Jim Kolbe, member of IRI’s Board of Directors and a former-Congressman from Arizona’s Eighth District.  Other delegates are Geoff Connor, former Secretary of State for Texas and co-founder and Chairman of CACH Capital Management; Urszula Gacek, Member of the European Parliament from Poland; Bill Graham, founder of Shenandoah Capital LLP; Marek Hannibal, Member of the European Parliament from the Czech Republic; Ambassador Stephan Minikes, member of IRI’s Board of Directors and former Ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe; Eirik Moen, Secretary General of the International Democrat Union; Bill R. Phillips, founder of The Bill Phillips Company; Andriy Shevchenko, Member of the Ukrainian Parliament; and Mark M. Spradley, Executive Vice President of Mazao Capital LLC.

Prior to the election, delegates will be briefed by representatives from the U.S. Embassy, political party representatives and members of the media.  They will also be briefed on the rights and responsibilities of international observers and Georgian election law.  Delegates will then be deployed throughout the country where they will monitor polling stations and identify and evaluate strengths and weaknesses in Georgia’s election system, including campaign regulations, the balloting process, vote tabulation and reporting.

IRI staff will also serve as observers and assist in the mission. IRI staff will be led by Georges Fauriol, Senior Vice President of IRI and Stephen B. Nix, Regional Director for IRI’s Eurasia division.

Since 1998, IRI has worked to help strengthen political parties in Georgia at both national and local levels.  IRI also works with youth and women to increase their participation in the political process.  In addition, IRI has also conducted extensive public opinion polling throughout the country, with the most recent poll being released November 2007. 

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