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Laimos Andrikienės kalba spaudos konferencijoje Tbilisyje, pasibaigus Prezidento rinkimų Gruzijoje EP stebėjimo misijai

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Prezidento rinkimų stebėjimo misija Gruzijoje baigta. Balsavimai - vakar, šį rytą - derybos su kitais tarptautiniais stebėtojais dėl rinkimų vertinimo, bendra spaudos konferencija, keletas interviu Gruzijos televizijoms - ir tiesiu taikymu į oro uostą. Esu pakeliui į Tėvynę. 
Ačiū Vidas Kavaliauskas Lituanistikos centrui Tbilisio technikos universitete už malonų mano ir kolegų iš EP priėmimą. 
Ačiū Robert Andrzej Golanski
Žemiau - mano kalba spaudos konferencijoje Tbilisyje 
Tbilisi, 29 November 2018

Press statement by Ms Laima ANDRIKIENE,
Head of the European Parliament Delegation to the International Election Observation Mission to Georgia

Presidential elections, 2018
2nd round

Ladies and gentlemen,
Dear friends,

I am very pleased to be back in Georgia for the second round with the European Parliament delegation. Our presence here for both rounds is a proof of our commitment to Georgian people and their democracy.

We share the observations which have just been drawn and subscribe to the conclusions that are presented, and we are relieved to see that no major incidents were reported throughout Election Day.

I would like however to underline that some of the elements that we had voiced following the first round are, regrettably, still relevant today.

We are definitely concerned at seeing that the very negative campaign and the harsh accusations between the candidates, already pointed out on 28 October, have worsened. They have reached an unacceptable level which may jeopardise the consolidation of democracy in a country which we consider a frontrunner in our neighbourhood.
We still strongly believe in Georgia's European aspirations, but this electoral process was divisive, and brought much antagonism in society. We really hope that the President of Georgia who has been elected yesterday will be willing and able to reconcile the nation in order to allow the country to address fully the many challenges it faces. On its path to the EU, Georgia needs a true democratic, non-confrontational dialogue between all actors, in order to safeguard political stability.

The fact that Georgian voters could not, once more, cast their ballot in the occupied territories of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali / South Ossetia is also a matter of great concern. These citizens must not be forgotten and left to their own fate.

We note that the choice of the date for this second round was not in the interest of all the voters, and was not made in an inclusive manner, leading to suspicions that it could have been politically motivated.

It is also with great surprise that we learned about the debt relief plan for 600.000 citizens to pay off their loans. Even though we understand this was the result of a long standing process, the fact that such a major political and financial decision is announced a few days before a much disputed second round and that it is made possible thanks to an entity owned by the Chairperson of the ruling party affected public perception in the voters' minds. This inevitably fueled legitimate suspicion about the real intention behind this measure. If we judge by the different pieces of legislation that regulate this electoral process, this large scale action may be considered as vote buying, as mentioned in our joint statement. More clarity is therefore needed on this important matter: such debt relief did not bring credit to these elections, on the contrary.

We finally note with concern the cases of intimidation and pressure on voters that have been reported to us: these have to be inquired thoroughly. Furthermore, the mass text messages and pre-recorded phone calls by the Chairperson of Georgian Dream to all voters on Election Day, irrespective of whether in or out of the polling stations, and inviting them to vote in favor of the candidate backed by his party, constitutes campaigning on E-day. As we would not expect such methodology to be used to persuade voters in a genuine democratic process, we are disappointed.

We remain, however, a committed friend of Georgia, and hope that the recommendations issued at the end of this electoral process will be read in this light. On our end, the European Parliament will continue its efforts in observing and accompanying Georgia's democratic choices.

We wholeheartedly hope that the next time we observe elections we will not witness the repetition of such a campaign but one based on a genuine discussion between candidates, on projects for Georgian society. This is definitely what citizens need and deserve.

Thank you.