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Georgia 2012: IDEE
Election Observer Mission
government of the Republic of
Georgia announced in early August 2012 that parliamentary elections
(required for sometime in October 2012) would be held on
October 1. Georgia's elections had particular significance. For the
first time in post-Soviet Georgia,
a significant and serious opposition coalition offered the possibility
of a peaceful transfer of power through the ballot box. Since the 2003
Revolution, the United National Movement (UNM), led by
Saakashvili, had dominated Georgian politics. Questionable election
results in 2008 gave the UNM
a "contstitutional majority" of more than
three-fourths of the seats in parliament, with only a nominal
opposition. The UNM's control of
parliament and Mikheil Saakashvili's firm grip on the presidency
had resulted in widespread abuse of power without any checks or
balances in such areas as media, rule of law, and security. The
continued dominance of
the UNM portended a further erosion of democracy.
Despite a high degree of state
intimidation of the citizenry and numerous restrictions on Georgia
opposition coalition led by Bidzina Ivanishvili, the opposition
undertook a spirited campaign and won the October 1 elections in such
fashion (officially 55 to 40 percent) that President Saakashvili
quickly conceded defeat. The large
scale of the victory indicates that Georgia Dream had a much larger
base than Western observers, who mostly had predicted an easy triumph
Saakashvili's party, thought. The
prison abuse scandal (see
section of news articles below) outraged citizens
and further strengthened sentiment against Saakashvili. Although
there were attempts at fraud (even massive fraud), domestic and
international observers and independent and opposition
party election commission members, helped protect the basic integrity
of the vote. While an accurate count will probably not be achieved, the
55-40 percent advantage stated by the Central Election Commission was
probably low, indicated by Georgia Dream's easy victories in 7
majoritarian seats requiring a run-off due to fraud. The
victory of Georgia Dream and
— for the post-Soviet region — peaceful transfer of power following
democratic elections gives democracy in that country greater depth.
The Institute for
Democracy in Eastern Europe (IDEE) has supported
democratic forces since 1989. In 2007,
it began a web page devoted to following events and
providing analysis of the Georgian political scene (see Crisis
of Democracy, Crisis of State, and Crisis
of Democracy Unabated). For these elections, it organized
several pre-election and long-term observer missions and a short-term
election observer mission of 80 persons from 11 countries of Eastern
Europe and the U.S (see the
observer mission's preliminary
results). This special elections page
offers links to information, analysis and reports on the general
in Georgia, the human rights situation, and the run-up to the
elections. Other resources are
Reports of IDEE Mission
Report of Centers for Pluralism Network/IDEE Observer Mission in
Pre-Election Monitoring Report
of the Centers for Pluralism
Network Delegation (August
Observers Evaluate Georgian
Elections (Georgian Journal, Oct.
Smaranda Enache: The Elections and International Observers (Georgia Journal
Leader Praises Azeri Democratic Opposition's Monitors (Oct.
from Georgia by Vladimir
Orasky (Tidningen Kulturen, Oct.
Observers Report Election Fraud (Viasna News, Oct.
11, 2012) (Belarusan)
Ballots Instead of Guns by Mariusz
Pilis (Uwazm Rze, Oct.
7, 2012) (Polish)
of Election Violations in Sagarejo Village by Michal Veselsky (Oct.
Pre-Election Environment (Georgia
Yong Lawyers' Association, Sept.
Interim Pre-Election Monitoring Report of the Georgia Young Lawyers'
Special World Press Freedom
Committee Report on News
Media in Georgia (Sept.
Observer Assessment Report by Belarusan Civil Society Activists (August
Report on Georgia: Pre-Election
Assessment by Daniel Korte, MP (August
Documents and Web Pages
daily news online (link)
Elections Portal (a joint
web site of GYLA, ISFED, and TI)
Georgia Young Lawyers' Association (link)
Interpress News: Georgia Election Coverage
Analysis Of Cases of Criminal and Administrative Offences with Alleged
of Expression in Georgia
Offenses with Alleged Political Motive
Society for Fair Elections and Democracy
Pre-Election Monitoring of the 2012 Parliamentary
the Decision to Seize Satellite Dishes
the Use of Administrative Resources for Election Campaign
2011 Human Rights Report: Georgia Country Report
News and Articles
Justice or Revenge (Economist, Nov.
Political Prisoners Released After Parliament Commission (InterNews, Nov.
Illegal Wiretapping Practices Descibed
(Transition International Blog, Nov.
U.S. Asks Georgian Government to Stop Arrests (New York Times, Nov.
U.S. to Support Georgian Democracy:
Assistant Secretary Gordon (Info9,
Chief Prosecutor Details Ministry's
Widespread Cyber Surveillance; Arrests Made (Trend, Nov.
Former Interior Minister
Akhalia, Two Commanders Detained (RFE/RL, Nov. 7)
Government to Make Cuts in President's
Costly Habits (D&F Watch, Nov.
Obama Congratulates New Government (Civil.Ge, Oct. 29)
Ivanishvili Confirmed As Prime Minister
(BBC, Oct. 26)
Government to Release Half Its Prisoners in Amnesty (D&F Watch, Oct. 23)
Takes High Post" (Caucasus Elections
After Elections, Local Officials Leave Town (RFE/RL, Oct.
and Dreams for U.S. Election by Vladimer Papava (Open Democracy.Net, Oct.
West is Wrong Both About Saakashvili and Ivanishvili by Tedo Japaridze (D&F Watch, October
Interview with Fady Asly: Business in Old and New Regimes (Oct.
Georgia's Media Landscape Shifts After Historric Election by Robert
Coalson (RFE/RL, Oct.
Ivanishvili's Citizenship Restored (Bloomberg, Oct.
16); President Presents Him as Prime Minister (IPN, Oct.
Results Annulled in Seven Districts; 3 Seats Gained by GD in Repeat
Elections (Civil.ge, Oct. 12, Oct. 15)
Turning the Dream of Peace Into Reality? by Rachel Clogg (Open
Public Finally Allowed Into Prisons (D&W Watch, Oct.
Father-in-law of future Interior Minister
released from prison (Georgia Times,
State Deparment's Melia: More Than
Elections Needed (Oct.
Ivanishvili Meets With the President: Their Statements
Government: A Change in Style and Substance:
Interview with Lincoln
Mitchell (RFE/RL, Oct.
Parliament Breakdown of Seats by
Official Results (Civil.ge, Oct. 8)
Georgia Dream and Ivanishvili Announce New
Street Journal, Oct.
New Government Takes Shape (D&F Watch, Oct. 8)
"Over to You, Bidzina" (Economist, Oct.
"Georgian Democracy on the
March" by Job C. Henning and
Nino Japaridze (New York Times,
Georgia Dream Charges Fraud; Claims More Seats (Civic.ge, Oct. 4)
Defend Democracy" (Financial Times,
"There are No Political Ultimatums": Ivanishvili (Civil.ge, Oct. 3, 2012)
In Quotes: International Reactions to Georgia's Elections (Civil.ge, Oct. 3, 2012)
Georgia Has a Democratic
Counterrevolution by Thomas
de Waal (Bloomberg, Oct.
Ivanishvili Is Not "Putin's Man" in Georgia by Mark Adomanis (Forbes, Oct.
Liberal Democrats Congratulate Republicans and Free Democrats on
Victory (ELDR, Oct.
Full Election Coverage (Oct. 2, 2012)
Concedes Election: (Council
on Foreign Relations, Oct.
Thousands Turn Out for Opposition Rallies (RFE/RL, Sept.
Tbilisi Long Ago Turned Against Rulers (The Washington Post, Sept.
Better Off Than in the Post, Georgians Ask at What Cost (New York Times, Sept.
Dramatic Shift (Citizens for Democracy in Georgia, September
Crucial Parliamentary Vote Nears:
Corey Flintoff reporting for National Public Radio (Sept.
to Join Georgia Dream Rally
of Georgia Supports Students in
Their Reaction to Prison Abuse Scandal (IPN, Sept.
5 Things to Know About the Parliamentary
Elections by Cory Welt
(Center for American Progress, Sept.
Scandal and Change in Georgia by Michael Cecire (National
Georgian Elections At Your Own Risk (Bloomburg News, Sept.
International Federation of Journalists
Calls for Press Freedom Guarantees in Georgia (IPJ, Sept.
Parliamentary Assembly Expresses Conceerns
over GD Arrests (Civil.ge, Sept. 25, 2012)
The Prison Rape Scandal and Danger of a Morality-Based Foreign Policy
by Mark Adomanis (Forbes, Sept.
Georgia's Prison Rape Scandal and What
It Says About the Rose Revolution by
Charles H. Fairbanks, Jr. (The
Dream: 25 Activists in Pre-trial
Detention (Citizens for Democracy, Sept.
Prisoner Abuse Scandal: A Ticking Time
Bomb (D&F Watch, Sept.
Nothing Less than Zero Tolerance in Election
Fraud is Acceptable (Caucasus Elections Watch, Sept.
Tale of Two Reports":
ODIHR and Transparency International (Caucasus Elections Watch, Sept.
Prosecutor Asked to Open
Investigation of Torture at New Prison (GYLA, Sept. 27, 2012)
Prison Abuse Scandal Produce a Protest Vote (Eurasianet, Sept. 24, 2012)
Blower Claims Prison Victims Targeted as Saakashvili's Enemies (RFE/RL,
International Reaction to Prison Abuse
Scandal --- In
Quotes (Civil.ge, Sept. 20, 2012)
Game of Georgian Chicken by Lincoln Mitchell (Huffington Post, Sept.
Georgia's Cyber Politics Escalates by David Ignatius
(Washington Post, Sept.
Ahead of Georgia Vote, Prison Tapes Spark Fury (Wall Street Journal, Sept.
Unrest Follows Broadcast of Video Showing Prison Abuse in Georgia (New
York Times, Sept.
Prison Abuse Videos Spark Public Outrage
(D&F Watch, Sept.
Billionaire Challenges Georgia's Leader (The Washinigton Post, Sept. 18,
EU Ambassador Urges Both Sides to Trust Observers (D&F Watch, Sept.
NGOs Plead for Extention of Must Carry Broadcast Coverage (Citizens for
Democracy in Georgia, Sept.
U.S. Inter-Agency Mission Sends Message to Georgia on Elections
"A Crucial Election in Georgia" by Thomas
de Waal (Carnegie Endowment, Sept.
"Tbilisi Pols Look to
Washington to Influence Election Outcome" (Eurasianet, Sept.
ISFED Monitoring Report
Cites Increased Violations (D&F Watch, Sept.
Transparency International and Policy
Institutes Lauch Information Site on Party Programs (Sept.
A New Means of Intimidation:
Cell Phones in the Voting Booth (Sept.
International and Policy
Institutes Lauch Project to Inform Electorate of Party Programs (Sept.
Hit by Yet Another
Georgian Civil Society Coalition Calls
for Electoral Law Changes to Protect Liberty
Who Would Rule Russia: An Interview" (Atlantic, August
Young Lawyers' Assoc.: Fining of
Ivanishvili and Kaladze Unlawful (GYLA, August
Enforcement of Pre-Election
Activities is Unbalanced (Messenger, August
Again (Civil.Ge, August
Report / Final
Report): Extraordinary Presidential Election on 5 January 2008
National Democratic Institute: NDI 2008 Election Observation
Delegation to Georgia
Images of War:
A Polish Journalist's Photographs
Invasion of Georgia (Gori).
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