Statement by Local Non-Governmental Organizations about the Resumption of Negotiations on Election Reform
Negotiations between the ruling and opposition parties about election reform have resumed. Both sides have agreed to individual consultations. We, as organizations observing negotiations between the ruling and opposition parties on election reform, welcome the decision by both sides to resume consultations. We are Transparency International – Georgia, International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy, Georgian Young Lawyer’s Association, and New Generation – New Initiative. We think, however, that changing the consultations to a closed format will decrease their transparency. The change in the negotiations' format, after which non-governmental and international organizations will no longer be able to participate in the process, could decrease the trust of society in the negotiations. For this reason, we advise both sides of negotiations: • To ensure maximum transparency of the consultations, and to regularly inform the population about their progress; this will raise awareness about and trust in the process among citizens. • To ensure maximum involvement of local and international experts and civil society in the consultations, and to consider voters' interests in their final decisions. • To be constructive and goal-oriented in the process of negotiations; this will contribute to a timely and productive conclusion of the consultations. We are ready to actively cooperate with all parties participating in the consultations to help improve the election code in Georgia. We think that involvement of society at large in these negotiations will lead to more democratic political processes and contribute to the formation of a strong political culture in Georgia. This statement is also joined by the International Center for Geopolitical Studies.