OSCE publishes interim report on local elections in Georgia
BAKU, Azerbaijan, Sept. 18
By Tamilla Mammadova – Trend:
The Election Observation Mission of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights published an interim report about the upcoming October 2 local elections in Georgia, Trend reports via Georgian media.
According to the report, voters will elect mayors and members of the local councils through a mixed system of majoritarian seats and proportional lists in 64 municipalities. Majoritarian candidates must obtain over 40 percent of the valid votes cast, and candidates for mayor over 50 percent, otherwise a second round is held within four weeks.
A total of 42 political parties and 76 initiative groups are running in these elections. The CEC and DECs registered 241 mayoral candidates, 2,845 majoritarian candidates in 664 single-member constituencies, and 773 proportional lists. There are 25 female candidates for mayor (10 percent), 496 for majoritarian seats (17 percent), and 8,856 on proportional lists (42.5 percent). The ODIHR EOM has received several reports of candidates being pressured to withdraw.
Based on the report, the campaign is prominent particularly in the media and online. Many parties reduced door-to-door and in-person campaign activities given widespread COVID-19 related concerns, and no large-scale campaign events were held to date, although permitted. Billboards and posters are not widely used by the parties, with the exception of the ruling party.
"Most candidates met by ODIHR EOM did not raise concerns about their ability to campaign freely, including in minority languages. The 43 percent benchmark for the ruling party stemming from the 19 April agreement is a key point of discussion, overshadowing local issues in the first weeks of the campaign," reads the report.
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