Pre-Election Environment ahead of the 2016 Parliamentary Elections
International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED) presents evaluation of Georgian electoral environment ahead of the parliamentary elections, based on the analysis of electoral legislation, election administration activities, political and media pluralism. Publication of the Presidential Decree on June 8, 2016, which set October 8 as the date of the parliamentary elections , marked the beginning of a four-month long official pre-election campaign period.
Despite a number of initiatives, there have been no substantial improvements in the electoral system of Georgia ahead of the 2016 parliamentary elections. Redrawing boundaries of single-mandate majoritarian districts and increasing threshold do not sufficiently addressing all problems related to the electoral system. Additionally, several pending drafts of amendments to legal framework for elections have not yet been passed. Although recent activities of the electoral management body (EMB) have been positive, certain concerns have been raised by the process of recruitment of district electoral commission (DEC) members and inconsistent approach of DECs to complaints.
Pre-election environment is jeopardized by violence against politicians and attempts of blackmail by videos of private life, as well as by the state’s ineffective response to such incidents. Legal disputes over ownership of TV companies and suspension of several major talk shows during pre-election period have raised concerns about media environment. Existence of media outlets that are critical of ruling political groups is essential during the pre-election period.