Building on its detailed pre-election analysis, NDI intends to maintain a robust focus on Georgia’s electoral process leading up to and following parliamentary elections on October 31. Leveraging the work of its longstanding on-the-ground presence, interviews by a virtual pre-election analysis team led by NDI President Derek Mitchell, and a subsequent pre-election report released last month, NDI initiated what will be a sustained effort that draws on the accepted standards NDI helped create for election observation. The Institute will conduct this effort, as in the past, together with Georgian partners and the international community.
Starting in early September, NDI will deploy a team of long-term analysts (LTAs) who will focus on several key electoral themes including electoral administration, party campaigns, gender and inclusion, and media and disinformation. These LTAs will work remotely, paired with assistants based in Georgia, to continuously track the key issues identified in the pre-election report and those that may emerge. NDI will issue an interim bulletin that updates the pre-election analysis, which will be informed by close cooperation with Georgian and international observers.
NDI President Mitchell will lead a second high-level virtual election analysis team two weeks before election day to set the stage for a third, comprehensive report to be released in the days immediately following the election. Covering the entire election process, including the campaign period as well as election day, the report will be based on discussions with Georgian government officials, political party representatives, members of the Central Election Commission, civil society organizations (CSOs), the media, domestic observer groups, and the international diplomatic community. Analysis from NDI’s LTAs as well as data gathered by respected Georgian election observation groups will also inform this final analytical report.
NDI will continue to cooperate with international and diplomatic partners in these efforts, as well as with Georgian election monitors. NDI deeply appreciates the significant efforts the Government of Georgia has undertaken to facilitate deployment of international observers and the warm reception that its pre-election team received from all electoral stakeholders. NDI recognizes and commends the great work of the Georgian people and authorities in managing the COVID-19 pandemic.
But the safety of deploying a mission of international delegates also depends on conditions elsewhere. The global COVID-19 pandemic is still not under control internationally, including in the United States. After reviewing these international conditions, and considering carefully its own capacity to mitigate risks to its partners and itself in this environment, NDI has decided it will not deploy an in-person international observer delegation to Georgia in late October for election day.
While NDI regrets conditions are such to force this decision, the Institute nonetheless feels fully confident that its election support program as outlined above, in cooperation with partners inside and outside Georgia, is sufficient to enable an informed and comprehensive perspective on the conduct of the upcoming elections. The Institute’s commitment and capacity to monitor, analyze and ultimately report on conditions in support of a credible, transparent and representative electoral process, through October and beyond, remains strong.
As always, NDI is grateful to the Georgian people for our 25-year partnership in support of democratic development in Georgia. We wish all competitors well in the upcoming elections, and look forward to the day when global health conditions allow for the return of normal international interaction. A copy of the Institute's pre-election analysis press release, and a video statement by NDI President Mitchell with a summary of this analysis, can be found here/attached.