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ISFED presents final report of its election observation mission for the 2016 Parliamentary Elections

On March 10, 2016, the International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED) held a presentation of the final report of its election observation mission for the 2016 Parliamentary Elections.  The report offers recommendations for improving electoral system, relevant legislation, and election environment.

ISFED considers that timely and effective steps need to be taken for changing the electoral system.  Namely, the State Constitutional Commission should agree on introducing the proportional electoral system, which will ensure a fairer distribution of mandates in future in line with the will of voters expressed in elections.  Besides this, a working group on election issues should be set up, inclusive of all stakeholders, which will prepare relevant electoral system related changes to the Election Code.

ISFED recommends launching election administration composition reform.  To transform the election administration into a truly impartial and qualified entity, regulations for recruitment of election administration members at all levels should be revised.  New regulations should focus on recruitment based on professional qualifications, which may be achieved through decreasing number of commission members and the introduction of mandatory election certificates for commission members at all levels.  Based on the irregularities observed during the elections, more emphasis should be laid on adequate training of PEC members, especially with regard to summary protocols

According to ISFED recommendations, work should continue to improve the electoral framework and election environment.  Norms that regulate state funding should be revised and clarified, as they have caused uncertainty and controversy.  Norms regulating election disputes should also be further specified in order to prevent election commissions from wrongfully applying these norms and leaving complaints unexamined.  The Election Code should clearly define vote buying and provide effective mechanisms to the competent state agencies act on vote buying violations.  It is also important to revise the rules that regulate participation in campaigning.  For instance, the participation of civil servants in campaigning through social media should be regulated; so should campaigning on the Georgian territory from the territory of a foreign country; norms that regulate participation of charity organizations in campaigning should be clarified as existing provision is inadequate and ineffective, as proven by practice. To effectively prevent the misuse of administrative resources in favor of a party, the list of officials with unrestricted right to participate in campaigning should be narrowed down. 

To promote women’s political participation, legislation should provide for a temporary mandatory gender quotas for party lists.

The report presents the results of ISFED election observation mission on the 2016 Parliamentary Elections.  ISFED conducted a comprehensive monitoring during the pre-election period, Election Days and post-election period of the 2016 elections.  ISFED observed the first round of the Parliamentary Elections on October 8, 2016, re-runs on October 22 and runoff elections on October 30, 2016, through innovative Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT) methodology.  In total, over 1,000 observers took part in ISFED observation mission. The report in full can be accessed at ISFED website: 

ISFED election observation mission was made possible by the generous support of the American People through the financial assistance of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The mission was also supported by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), Federal Foreign Office of Germany, Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Georgia, and the European Union. The contents of this publication belong solely to the International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy and may not necessarily reflect the views of USAID, the United States Government, Federal Republic of Germany, Embassy of the Kingdom of Netherlands in Georgia, European Union, or NED