From left to right, ambassadors Jos Douma (Netherlands), Justin McKenzie Smith (UK) and Ross Wilson (US), addressing journalists in Marneuli. (Twitter.)

TBILISI, DFWatch–American, British and Dutch ambassadors are visiting southern Georgia today to observe the runoff presidential election in the region which has a long history of manipulation and violence during elections.

Ross Wilson, acting US Ambassador to Georgia, Justin McKenzie Smith, the UK Ambassador and Dutch Ambassador Jos Douma have visited the village of Kumisi and the town Marneuli, which is a municipal center in the region with a predominantly ethnic Azerbaijani population.

“Marneuli, precinct #1@JustinMcKenzieS making statement on behalf of UK, US & Dutch ambassadors. We visited polling stations in Marneuli and Kumisi this morning. Beautiful weather & relaxed atmosphere. Hope those conditions are indicative for process and outcome. #gvote18,” Dutch Ambassador Jos Douma posted on Twitter.

“#Georgia’s democratic reputation is its most precious asset,” UK Ambassador Justin McKenzie Smith posted both in Georgian and English.

For decades, regions with a predominantly minority populations, and Marneuli municipality in particular, have been a hotbed of all sorts of manipulation on election day and even direct violence prior to and during the vote.

In October, 2016, during the parliamentary elections, there were mass protests and street clashes in Marneuli.

In the presidential election this year, there has not been such scale of violence in Marneuli, at least not during the first round of voting on October 28. However, there were a few violent incidents in villages adjacent to the town resulting in the arrest of two persons.