On August 18, the International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED) published its evaluation of the pre-election environment for the 2017 local self-government elections.
Next local self-government elections in Georgia will be held in October 2017. ISFED will monitor the local elections nationwide. 70 long-term observers (LTOs) of ISFED have been monitoring the pre-election period in all municipalities since July 24. Before publishing interim results of the long-term monitoring, ISFED presents its evaluation of the pre-election environment in Georgia with respect to the electoral legislation, political and media pluralism.
The document addresses several important issues, including Constitutional amendments and the process that began on a largely inclusive basis but reached a sort of an impasse after the ruling party made an unexpected decision to postpone changes in the electoral system until 2024.
The evaluation of the pre-election environment also addresses the decision to merge 14 municipalities and abolish self-governing status for 7 cities, voted for by Parliament also unexpectedly, without the involvement of the general public.
Major political parties started preparing for the local self-government elections several months prior; however, the election campaign has yet to enter an active phase nationwide. It is expected that primary focus of the campaign will be Tbilisi mayoral elections. Main candidates who will be running for the office are already known to the public.
The document also evaluates media landscape and changes that occurred in national broadcasters several months prior to the elections.
This document was made possible by the support of the American People through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). The contents of this publication belong solely to the International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy and may not necessarily reflect the views of USAID, the United States Government, or NED.