Georgia: voters had a genuine choice and candidates campaigned freely, but on an unlevel playing field

Georgia’s 28 October presidential election was competitive and professionally administered. Candidates were able to campaign freely and voters had a genuine choice, although there were instances of the misuse of state resources, and the involvement of senior state officials from the ruling party in campaigning was not always in line with the law, the international observers concluded in a preliminary statement released today. A substantial imbalance in donations and excessively high spending limits further contributed to an unlevel playing field, the statement says.

“Yesterday voting was well organised, and electors made their choice without restrictions,” said Andrej Hunko (Germany, UEL), Head of the delegation from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE). “An astonishing amount of money has been spent in the electoral campaign – and this in a country with a high level of poverty. Another point of concern was the substantial number of candidates apparently campaigning on behalf of others, thus undermining the equality of opportunity and weakening the citizens’ confidence in the electoral process.”