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IRI long-term observers offer recommendations to political parties, officials and law enforcers
 IRI long-term observers offer recommendations to political parties, officials and law enforcers
28 October, 2016
The International Republican Institute (IRI) long-term observers have offered their recommendation to Georgia’s political parties, officials and law enforcers that are as it follows:

‘Electoral bodies should work to increase confidence in electoral administration.

Throughout the remainder of the runoff campaign period, electoral management bodies—including the CEC, DECs and PECs—need to carry out their roles and responsibilities transparently and in strict adherence to the Georgian Election Code. Additionally, complaints and appeals—which will likely increase in number, intensity, and complexity in the last few days before the election—must be handled in a manner that is unbiased, lawful, and proportionate to the offense. Electoral bodies should improve electoral procedure training.

The CEC should continue to incorporate international best practices into its procedures, particularly regarding the instruction and correct execution of electoral procedures on Election-Day. Taking into consideration the high number of official complaints reported to the CEC regarding electoral procedures, PEC members should be better trained in opening, closing, and counting procedures. Political parties should foster a peaceful, respectful and cooperative election environment.

In the interest of maintaining a safe and open campaigning environment, IRI calls on all second-round parties to avoid engaging in confrontational rhetoric or behavior and take positive steps to prevent further disruptions of their opponents’ right of assembly. Additionally, party leaders need to send a clear message to their representatives in local government that they will not condone or reward actions taken in unofficial “support” of their party. Officials should respect the distinction between their public and political roles.

As allegations continue to mount accusing GDDG of the improper use of government administrative resources for political benefit on and after Election Day, IRI urges GDDG not to use its authority to disadvantage political opponents and intimidate voters in the second round of elections. GDDG party leaders should instruct their elected officials not to take any action which might violate the integrity of their respective offices, and make it clear that violations will not endear them to the party. Political parties should take steps to enhance the inclusion of women.

IRI recommends that political parties not only continue to support women’s inclusion in electoral administration, but expand efforts to ensure that they are equally represented as candidates on proportional party lists. Until the 12 majoritarian system—which disadvantages women candidates—is abolished, and in order to ensure a balanced and democratic environment, IRI recommends that political parties focus on building the capacity of young women leaders, and support more women as majoritarian candidates. IRI continues to believe that a regional-proportional system of representation would enable both ethnic minorities and women to achieve increased representation in future parliaments, and urges the new parliament to move affirmatively in this direction when it enters new session in November. The role of law enforcement should remain separate from and impartial to election activities. IRI encourages Georgia’s law enforcement agencies to thoroughly and impartially investigate all electoral violations that transpired on Election Day, and to ensure that its agents are not involved in acts of intimidation in the runoff elections,’ reads the IRI report.

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