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Discussion Summary – Preliminary assessment of the first round of local elections in Georgia

(October 11, 2021)


Members of a local election commission empty a ballot box before counting votes during the municipal elections in Tbilisi, Georgia October 2, 2021. Source: REUTERS/Irakli Gedenidze


The International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy and the reports ISFED.

What’s next?

Second rounds of elections will take place in several municipalities on the 30th of October and observers strongly hope to not see the same type of pressure on voters and candidates in the pre-election environment or any controlling of the free will of the voters. The second round will show and prove if there is an improved election process, but the first round so far cannot be seen as a “positive election” following international best practices. The free will of the voter is the main priority, other technicalities follow that when judging the conduct of an election.

Some experts voiced concerns over what might happen in the next month. Even though several smaller parties did better in these elections than in previous ones, there are fears that there will be a return to the traditional struggle between the two major parties Georgian Dream and UNM, which does not bode well for a stable and peaceful process. When the ultimate result is declared, there is a risk that this will cause upset among some parties and may bring out their worst tendencies.

Preliminary recommendations and conclusions

In general, experts note that the legal framework for the municipal elections could ensure the holding of adequate democratic elections, but that implementation and lack of political will still remain to be an issue. Some experts also believe that legislation concerning Election Day procedures is still unnecessarily complex and could benefit from simplification. Any reforms should occur in an all-inclusive manner with all political and international stakeholders involved and all political parties participating in the vote on the reform. This, however, also requires political will to change, and so far, political parties have been reluctant to do so out of fear that the changes could be used for political purposes.

Concerning the problematic situation outside of polling stations, observers have called on relevant authorities to address this issue at least within the 100-meter perimeter outside of polling stations, which will improve the situation at least in the vicinity of polling stations already before the upcoming second round elections, even if it will not solve the problem entirely. This issue, among others, requires a change in political culture in Georgia, which necessitates much more work beyond the traditional technical support that has been provided, commented an international participant.

For detailed reports about the conduct of the Election Day, please see the reports of following election observation missions:


[1] An analysis of the legal framework for this election available here”_ftn2″>[2] For more details about the ruling party’s advantage during this ‘pandemic election’, see our discussion summary on the topic here”_ftn3″>[3] The issue of the media landscape in Georgia was discussed in a recent public event, a discussion summary and recording of the event is available here”_ftn4″>[4] For further details on the pre-election period see our discussion summary on this topic here””>

[5] Currently, PEC members receive approx. 70 dollars a month during their period of appointment.

The summary of the roundtable discussion can also be downloaded here

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