Thomas O. Melia, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State. (DFWatch photo)

TBILISI, DFWatch – Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Thomas O. Melia, who on Wednesday completed his visit to Georgia, evaluated the situation in the country before the elections.

A delegation chaired by him for two days held meetings with representatives of government officials, political parties and media. Wednesday Melia summed up the results of the meetings at a press conference held at Radisson Blu Iveria.

He noted that the USA supports the Georgian people’s aspirations for a free and democratic processes.

“We do not favor any particular party or candidate and USA government looks forward to continue cooperation with the leaders that the Georgian people chooses in these elections,” he said.

The upcoming elections are critical to helping Georgia advance its Euro Atlantic aspirations, domestic and international perceptions of fairness of the campaign environment, including providing rule of law, media access, transparency and fair play, will be important indicators of Georgia’s democratic development.

He named several principles, which are meaningful for the electoral process. Those are the importance of a level playing field. He said despite shortcomings, it is clear that today there is competitive election environment.

The second principle is about the rule of law. Amended legislation should be equally and transparently enforced and each participant in the process should defend the law.

The third principle is to respect fundamental freedoms, respect peaceful protests, freedom of assembly, which is a hallmark of democratic a society.

Melia noted that the delegation received information from all political parties that they have an opportunity to freely travel in the country, conduct election meetings and provide voters with their own messages. They call on all parties to renounce violations and avoid provocation.

The fourth principle is access to media. The delegation salutes the implementation of the so-called must-carry and must-offer principles and the government’s step to implement it for 60 days before an election.

“And we strongly support its extension through the post-election process and beyond.”

These principles provide access to a variety of diverse opinions for people all over Georgia.

The fifth principle is about constructive engagement. He said the parties have an expectation that representatives of law enforcement and security bodies will act well to have peaceful elections and post-election period.

“We remind all the parties that after October 1 they will need to work together in the new parliament to advance Georgia’s democratic and economic development and they should conduct the campaigns in that knowledge and in that spirits.”