TBILISI, DFWatch – The U.S. organization Committee for Open Democracy (COD) is to send log term election observers to monitor the parliamentary election in Georgia in October.
“We’ll be focusing on the processes of democracy and people’s confidence in these processes. We have no political side in your elections,” said COD board member Bruce Barcelo during a press conference at at Tbilisi Marriott Hotel Monday. He added that they will inform the public about all violations during the election.
Representatives said 20-25 persons will live in Georgia during the election campaign and election process. They also plan to hire from 200 to 300 local observers and distribute observers to the different regions of Georgia.
Tom Nolan, president of the organization, said at the meeting that Committee for Open Democracy is privately funded and ‘fully non-partisan’ in the process of election observation.
As representatives noted, the organization has worked in Ukraine and Moldova and is looking forward to go to Armenia to observe the elections there.
Local non-governmental organizations and media earlier this year asked the government to invite extra long-term observers from abroad, out of concern that the election environment would be set up at an early stage to favor the ruling party.
Usually, long term observers arrive about six weeks prior to election day, but the groups asked for an even earlier start to the observation process.
The Foreign Ministry on April 6 sent invitations to OSCE/ODIHR, OSCE’s Parliamentary Assembly, the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly (PACE), NATO’s Parliamentary Assembly, the European Parliament and EU bodies.
Foreign minister Grigol Vashadze sent official invitations to Kenneth Wollack, President of the U.S. National Democratic Institute (NDI) and Lorne Craner, head of the International Republican Institute (IRI).
OSCE has already said it will send a mission from the middle of June.