TBILISI, DFWatch – The U.S. Ambassador to Georgia Thursday called in the press to outline what America is contributing to organizing the coming parliamentary election.
Initially, addressing the current split between two major blocs, the ruling National Movement party and the Georgian Dream coalition, John Bass said the United States does not support any individual candidate or party.
The U.S. efforts in democracy building are aimed at creating trust in democratic processes in the country, he said.
“Our efforts in Georgia, which involve our discussions with government and respective political parties, as well as assistance programs, are designed to support the people of this country in deepening its democratic culture, in providing opportunities for its citizens to choose their representatives. We believe that people of Georgia should be free to choose their own future.”
At the press conference held in Tbilisi Courtyard Marriott Hotel, the ambassador also said that the U.S. will support long-term observers to come to Georgia.
He said one of the goals the U.S. has is to develop democratic institutions in the country. With this goal in mind, the U.S. will support long term observers, who will arrive as part of separate missions organized by the National Democratic Institute and the Internaitonal Republican Institute.
The ambassador added that it is important that there is trust towards the observers.
He spoke about another American initiative. With the help of the NDI, the IRI and the IFES, female candidates will receive support to develop their opportunities. USD 750 000 will be allocated for this initiative. The reason, Bass says, is the objective fact that there is a low percentage of women in representative bodies in the country.
Addressing a new media diversity law proposal rasied by a democracy campaign which the government agreed to implement, Bass said the government’s recent decision to implement must-offer and must-carry principles is important, constructive and a step forward. He said it will increase the population’s access to information and contribute to create a level playing field in the election.
But he also said that the terms of implementation of this new regulation are subject for discussion.
It is important that processes are conducted democratically, that there will be provided a competitive environment, where each candidate will be able to communicate with the citizens, Bass said.
With apparent reference to a recent scuffle in a village at an opposition campaign event near a Russian checkpoint, Bass said that the U.S. expects the election campaign to be conducted without violence and without the use of force.