NEW YORK—To help ensure a free and fair poll in Georgia next month...

27 Jan, 2010

For Immediate Release
Friday, December 21, 2007
Contact:  Laura Silber, OSI, , +1 (212) 548-0311  

NEW YORK-To help ensure a free and fair poll in Georgia next month, the Open Society Georgia Foundation and the Open Society Institute have undertaken the following activities in the run up to the elections.  

The Open Society Georgia Fund (OSGF) and Open Society Institute (OSI) worked with local and international organizations to identify areas where our support and involvement could help enable a transparent electoral process. OSGF is participating in expert meetings organized by Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and its Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights. It is also supporting efforts of Georgian organizations that have previously acted as observers of elections and/or pre-election processes. These organizations will carry out key activities during the pre-election period, including monitoring for potential misuses of administrative resources, parallel vote tabulation, media (time allocation), election campaign financing, activities of election commissions, and other monitoring activities. Other donors also supporting such activities include the OSCE, the Council of Europe, the Eurasia Foundation, the Heinrich Boll Foundation, and USAID.   

The International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED), the Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association (GYLA), Transparency International-Georgia (TI-Georgia), and New Generation-New Initiative (NGNI) are among the organizations supported by OSGF. 

Specific projects supported by OSGF and OSI include: 

  1. A grant to GYLA in the amount of $10,514USD to conduct training for its election observers (approximately 300-350 persons) on elections procedures, claims/applications to address irregularities in the voting/bulletin counting process, methods of appeal etc. 
  2. A grant to NGNI in the amount of $15,000USD to increase the number of observers in order to provide broader coverage of about 50% of all polling stations.
  3. A joint Media Center created by ISFED, GYLA, NGNI, and TI-Georgia that will increase the capacity of NGOs to communicate the results of their monitoring and observations to journalists during the pre- and post-election process, and especially on Election Day. The total support for this work is $17,100USD.
  4. Voter education efforts aimed at ensuring that minorities in Georgia understand and exercise their rights. OSGF provided a grant of $17,150USD to the International Center for Civic Culture for this work.
  5. A grant of $10, 000USD to ISFED to implement a Parallel Vote Tabulation; an effort largely supported by the European Commission.

 In addition, the Media Council, which OSFG helped establish two years ago, has worked with independent journalists and other civil society representatives to develop recommendations on how media coverage of the presidential campaign can adhere to appropriate standards and ethics. The Council has disseminated these recommendations to Georgian organizations and international agencies working in Georgia.  

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The Open Society Institute, a private operating and grantmaking foundation established by George Soros, works to build vibrant and tolerant democracies whose governments are accountable to their citizens. To achieve its mission, OSI seeks to shape public policies that assure greater fairness in political, legal, and economic systems and safeguard fundamental rights. OSI works in over 60 countries in Europe, Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East, as well as in the United States.