Report by Human Rights Center – Monitoring 2021 Local Government Elections

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On December 17, Human Rights Center will publish the report regarding the monitoring of 2021 Local Government Elections. The findings of the monitoring from the pre-election period, as well as the first and second rounds of the elections will be revealed at the report presentation.
According to the report, the amendments made to the Election Code of Georgia in June 2021 may be evaluated as a positive step towards the democratic development of the country. Unfortunately, although the election legislation created the possibility to hold high level democratic elections in the country, it was impossible to use this opportunity. In accordance with the current regulations, it would be possible to hold better elections only in combination of the legislation, its steadfast enforcement and relevant political will. 
Unfortunately, the violations observed during the pre-election period, mostly committed by the government representatives include faulty practice of the misuse of administrative resources, diminishing of the lines between the state and political party, worsened polarization and hate speech, etc. This made it impossible to hold the 2021 Municipal Elections with high democratic standards. This will negatively affect the democratic development of the country. 
The polling process on the Election Day of the 2021 Municipal Elections was mainly conducted in peaceful environment. Again, the big part of the observed violations were of technical character that is mainly caused by low qualification of the election administration members, weak knowledge of the election law and permanent problem of the language barrier in the ethnic monitory population of Georgia. Nevertheless, the monitoring of the election process revealed significant problems like unlawful and large-scale misuse of administrative resources, negligence of the principle to draw line between the state and the ruling party, violation of the election campaigning rules, etc.  
At the same time, the 2021 Municipal Elections were held in a media environment that can be characterized as extremely polarized, biased and rich with hate speech. Because of the political polarization, the local issues were mostly neglected in the pre-election period. The situation was still tense in the regions inhabited with ethnic minorities, where on the Election Day, as usual, most election violations were observed. Realization of both passive and active election rights of the women and ethnic minority representatives is still a significant challenge in the country.      
The Report was prepared with the financial support of the Black Sea Trust – a project of the German Marshall Fund of the United States, and Open Society Georgia Foundation. The views expressed in the Report are those of HRC and do not necessarily reflect the views of the donors. Therefore, the donors are not responsible for the content of the text laid here.