NGOs’ Efforts to Support Fair Conduct of Elections

8 Jun, 2010

Open Society Georgia Foundation provided funding in the amount of 212 727 USD to 12  projects aimed at supporting fair, democratic and transparent conduct of 2010 elections, engaging the NGOs in the election monitoring process and raising public awareness in the electoral issues.

During the selection of the proposals the Foundation gave priority to the projects aiming at:

  • Improving the pre-election environment, preventing the electoral violations  and monitoring the election processes
  • Educating the voters and raising the awareness of the citizens
  • Implementing monitoring at the “problematic” districts (e.g. engagement of ethnical minorities in election processes and protection of their rights; observation of the elections in military bases). 

Among the projects designed to improve the pre-election environment and the monitoring processes, it is reasonable to mention the Young Lawyers Association project “Supporting the fair and free local self-government elections in Georgia”. Within the framework of this project, the monitoring of following the procedures envisaged by law is implemented on the day of elections and post-election period in Tbilisi, Kutaisi and Batumi. On the elections’ day, 100 observers from this organization were working in Tbilisi, fifty observers were sent to Kutaisi and fifty were implementing their duties in Batumi. The organization covered those electoral districts that were admitted to be the “most popular” during the elections of 2008. Special attention was paid to the districts where, according to the new procedures, the police staff participates in voting process. On the day of elections 25 mobile groups were engaged in the monitoring process. Currently, 24 observers are working in the regional election commissions and two observers – in the Georgian Central Election Commission. In addition, the organization provided adequate response to violations and complaints by means of the media center that was established for the elections.

The Center for Human Rights implemented the monitoring of pre-election, election and post-election processes in Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti and Kakheti regions. On the day of elections the center observed the voting processes in Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti and Kakheti. During the monitoring the organization provided information on the number of revealed violations through media-center, electronic newspaper and vidio portal.

With the assistance from the OSGF, the Caucasus Research Resource Center is creating the informational database that will serve for improving the quality of the elections monitoring, recording and systematizing electoral violations. The website, designed by the center for 2010 elections, will help Georgian and foreign monitoring organization in obtaining useful information.

“The International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy” created a new election web-portal in order to increase the awareness of monitoring organizations, voters and all interested citizens and support transparency of the elections. On the elections’ day, the information on revealed violations, adequate responses and complaints submitted to electoral commissions and courts was updated during 24 hours.

Among the projects aimed at improving the monitoring of election processes is the project “Promoting Transparency of Party Finances” implemented by the Transparency International- Georgia. The project is designed to support the monitoring of annual income of the political parties financed from the budget, expenditures related to the revision of electoral lists and funds gained and spent for pre-election campaigns.

The Students-Youth Council also received funding for the project “We Can Change” that will assist the education of voters and raise the awareness of citizens. The organization has already held roundtables for the youth on the constitutional, legal and social-political issues in Ozurgeti and Chokhatauri municipalities.

Raising the public awareness is the main target of the project prepared by the International Center for Civic Culture as well. The organization used quite original method to achieve its goal. It promoted the election theme in the soap-opera “Shua Kalakshi” (In the middle of the City) presented by “Imedi” channel where “favourite” soap-opera characters supported the popularization of election theme. In addition, this organization held meetings around the regions with local non-governmental organizations and journalists.

As part of the project “Organizing thematic debates for the development of political parties and transparency of local elections”, The Center for Economic Policy Studies provided assistance to political parties in establishing their economic vision and organized debates on economic and social topics during the pre-election period. From May 21 till May 28, the political parties such as: “National Council”, “Alliance for Georgia”, “Tortladze – democratic party”, “Topadze – industrialists” and “National Movement” presented their own vision of economic structure of self-government and existing problems to the audience of relevant experts, media and NGOs.

The association “Law and Freedom” implemented the monitoring at the “problematic” districts. Most of these districts were located in military bases.

The Youth Club “Dea”, that is part of the Association of Children with disabilities and Mothers of Children with disabilities, organized the exhibition in order to increase the awareness of the population, especially youth, on the local self-government elections in Zugdidi municipality and main duties of the local government bodies.

The movement “Multilingual Georgia” prepared radio programs intended for informing ethnicl minorities living in Samtskhe-Javakheti, Kvemo Kartli and Adjara. With the assistance from the students of Akhaltsikhe University, the organization designed special electoral districts and prepared the educational film. On the day of elections, the “Multilingual Georgia” implemented monitoring in the above mentioned regions and submitted 41 complaints on violations. The monitoring results were sent to different information agencies through media center.

The media center provides the journalists and public with the useful information on planned and implemented monitoring activities, monitoring results and other important issues related to the elections during 24 hours. This center launched its business on May 20 and is coordinated by the non-governmental monitoring organization Transparency International- Georgia.

Besides the fact that the organizations spread the information using the media center and their own websites, the NGOs’ statistics on complaints and statements is recorded in the general registry on “Georgian Central Election Commission’s” website. This information is also available on the websites of the following organizations:

“International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy”

“Young Lawers’ Association

”Transparency International- Georgia”