TBILISI, DFWatch – U.S. Senator Richard Durbin, who is visiting Georgia, is studying how the election campaign is being conducted in the country.
Durbin arrived on Wednesday and will stady in Georgia for two days.
Durbin is the senior senator from Illinois, and was serving alongside Barack Obama before the latter became president. He is known as one of a few U.S. senators who expressed serious reservations about the invasion of Iraq in 2003.
Wednesday, the senator met Luis Navarro, Head of NDI Georgian office, Nino Lomjaria, head of ISFED, Eka Gigauri, representative of International Transparency Georgia, Tamar Chugoshvili, Head of Young Lawyer’s Association (GYLA) and Trade Union representatives.
Lomjaria said after the meeting that Durbin was interested in the election environment and the functioning of democratic institutes in the country. He also showed interest in the issue of political party financing and the functioning of non-governmental organizations.
GYLA chair Tamar Chugoshvili said that during the meeting they spoke about the elections and topics related to the election environment.
GYLA focused on the issue of ‘must-carry’, which means that a cable network has an obligation to carry the signal of a TV company that meets certain requirements. In many countries, this is seen as important for providing a level playing field during an election campaign and a measure to provide voters with complete information.
Chugoshvili also focused on the weaknesses of democratic institutions, parliament and the court system, and that this has a negative influence on the overall election environment.
The senator has not yet made any comments. His visit will last for two days. On Thursday, the senator will meet with President Mikheil Saakashvili and opposition representatives.