OSCE PA leaders call political parties to participate in the work of the new parliament

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The FINANCIAL — Amidst demands by the opposition for repeat parliamentary elections in Georgia and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s visit to the South Caucasus country, the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly’s political and security Chair and the leaders of the OSCE’s recent election observation mission reiterated that political deadlock must be overcome in order to ensure that the voters’ will is respected.

“Despite the grave challenges posed by the COVID pandemic, up to two million citizens of Georgia went to the polls on 31 October to make their voices heard,” said Special Co-ordinator and leader of the short-term OSCE election mission Elona Gjebrea Hoxha (MP, Albania) today. “The highest voter turnout since parliamentary elections in 2012 was a testament to the importance of these elections and the strong democratic commitment of all Georgians.”

Hoxha noted the importance of ensuring an inclusive process of reviewing complaints. “Such a process is critical to maintaining Georgian voters’ confidence in the electoral processes developed in recent years,” she said. “Now that this process is concluded all political parties elected should take their mandates, enter parliament, and continue their work within the institutions.”

Finnish parliamentarian Pia Kauma, the Head of the OSCE PA’s delegation of observers, recalled that the 31 October elections were competitive and, overall, fundamental freedoms were respected. “The observers found that Georgia, after long consultations facilitated by its international partners, had implemented important democratic reforms to advance its democracy by amending its constitution, improving the parliamentary governance model and setting in motion the transition towards a new electoral system,” Kauma said. She urged stakeholders to overcome the current polarization and to work together for a stable political framework.

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“The parties involved in the political deadlock of this moment need to find a way to overcome it,” said United States Congressman Richard Hudson, who serves as Chair of the OSCE PA’s Committee on Political Affairs and Security. “While the complexity of this task is clear, a positive outcome is vital for Georgia’s democratic future.”

Hudson added that Georgia can continue to count on the support of its partners, including those on the ground who are doing an admirable job in trying to help the parties reach agreement, even if it ultimately remains up to Georgians themselves to address the current situation, defuse the political crisis and restore trust in the electoral process.

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