At a glance
The OSCE Mission to Georgia has worked to strengthen the capacity of Georgian society and its institutions to move the democratization process forward, boosting their ability to conduct free and fair elections and establish democracy at all levels.
The Mission has supported the Central Election Commission (CEC) of Georgia in its efforts to increase transparency, accountability and professionalism and, since 2006, has employed several experts to build up the capacity of the election administration. The experts have supported the CEC's strategic planning, furthered human resources management, improved internal communication and strengthened its public relations department.
The Mission has fostered the capacity of local non-governmental organizations to monitor election-related activities. In 2006 a Mission-organized project with the International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy resulted in the first significant overhaul of the voters' list in nearly three years. The findings and recommendations triggered a broad discussion among main stakeholders and several new projects were designed.
Since 2006, the Mission has supported the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) in its efforts to bring Georgia's Election Code into greater compliance with international standards and improve its consistency. In 2007, it held a series of working sessions jointly with the Council of Europe and under the leadership of the Deputy Speaker of the Georgian Parliament with all relevant election stakeholders about reform of the Election Code. The discussions facilitated agreements among the political parties about electoral issues that were implemented in the December 2007 Election Code amendments.
These efforts have been complemented by Working Groups chaired by the Mission, which provide the opportunity for information sharing and co-operation among election stakeholders. The Technical Working Group, which discusses election assistance, is attended by international and domestic organizations as well as the CEC. The Ambassadorial Working Group, co-chaired by the Mission, brings together OSCE Ambassadors to discuss election issues from a political angle.
Recent election assistance
In 2008, the Mission worked to further free and fair extraordinary presidential and parliamentary elections in Georgia, co-ordinating the international community's involvement in election issues at a technical and ambassadorial level. It issued a brochure on election assistance rendered by the various stakeholders.
After both elections, the Mission organized roundtable discussions on lessons learned. It conducted an analysis of the handling of appeals and complaints during the elections and provided recommendations for legislative and procedural improvements. It helped to finance a comprehensive voters' list audit by a domestic election watchdog.
The Mission also monitored the Adjara Supreme Council elections in November 2008.
The Mission supported the Parliament of Georgia in its reform goals, aimed at increasing the capacity of the Parliament to operate in a transparent and professional manner.
Since 2006, the Mission - jointly with the ODIHR - has supported the Centre for Parliamentary Reform in the Georgian Parliament. The Centre is supervised by the Co-ordinator for International Donor Projects appointed by the Speaker of Parliament. It serves as a donor coordination body assisting the Speaker's Office and the Co-ordinator in monitoring ongoing parliamentary reform activities and identifying further reform goals. The Centre closely co-operates with all parliamentary projects, organizes regular donor co-ordination meetings and acts as an information source on donor activities in the Parliament.
The Mission has also supported ongoing discussions about the legal and financial status of the opposition in the parliament. It provided an expert, the former Head of the German Bundestag Administration, Wolfgang Zehc, who assessed the Parliament's Rules of Procedure and provided recommendations aimed at increasing personnel and budgetary resources supporting the factions in the parliament and improving their legal status. These efforts were supplemented by a visit of the Bavarian Parliament to the Georgian Parliament in 2007. During this visit, parliamentarians shared information and provided examples of best practices on the status of the opposition in parliaments.