The EU has today announced the deployment of a European Diplomatic Watch, which will send over 70 teams to visit over 1,000 polling stations in Georgia during the parliamentary elections this Saturday, 31 October.
The objective is to support the democratic process in Georgia as well as ongoing OSCE/ODIHR election observation mission in the country.
“What is most important for us, and for EU-Georgia relations, is not who will win these elections, but how these elections will be won. On Election Day we will be taking on an unprecedented role to actively monitor the conduct of these elections. Together with our Member States and European partners, we will be coordinating a massive Diplomatic Watch effort. Together, we will dispatch over 70 teams, and visit more than 1,000 polling stations throughout the country.” said Carl Hartzell, EU Ambassador to Georgia.
Teams will be composed of members of the EU Delegation to Georgia, the EU Member State embassies of Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, and Sweden as well as the embassies of Norway and Switzerland. The effort will be closely coordinated with efforts of other embassies, notably the United States and the United Kingdom.
EU Diplomatic Watch teams will travel in specially EU marked cars and wear EU marked vests and hats. They will follow all relevant COVID-19 safety precautions.
Full statements from EU Ambassador Carl Hartzell announcing the Diplomatic Watch below:
In less than two days, Georgians will go out to cast their votes in important parliamentary elections. The preparation for these elections has been unusually difficult due to the global pandemic situation. Let me take this opportunity to thank everyone who has been working to make sure that these elections to be carried out in a safe manner.
The European Union has been engaged from the start including to facilitate the 8 March agreement which have set more equal opportunities through a new election system for this elections. We have also taken part in the negotiations on the electoral code and we have been following the campaign very closely so far.
On election day we will take on an unprecedented role to carry out a diplomatic watch: together with our Member States and European partners, we will be assembling no less than 70 teams which will be visiting some 1000 polling stations on election day throughout the country.
This is what the teams look like, and as you can see they will be adhering to the same high standards of the anti-Covid rules that need to apply for everyone during these elections.
Our efforts are aimed to support the OSCE/ODIHR mission. And we will be working together also with local observers here.
This is a testament to the EU’s unwavering support to the democracy here in Georgia, and it is the demonstration of our readiness to walk the extra mile to make sure that we can instil some further trust in these elections by providing international eyes and ears.
For us, and for the EU-Georgia relations, what in the end matters is not who will win these elections, but how these elections will be won. In other words, how these elections will be conducted, which is the responsibility that rests on the shoulders of all actors.
Finally, let me encourage all voters to make your voices heard on Saturday, in a safe and secure manner, and hopefully we will be seeing you out there!
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