Earlier this week ISFED and partner NGOs have released a statement about the ongoing electoral reform working group and proposed legislative changes drafted by the Georgian Dream.
ISFED positively assesses the changes proposed to the Law on Political Unions of Citizens in relation to the change of the political party finance regulations and move to a so called regressive rule of financing.
However, draft amendments to the Election Code proposed by the ruling party contain a number of problematic issues and if adopted, they will have a detrimental effect on the electoral environment ahead of the 2020 elections. Regulations related to freedom of expression and media are especially alarming. Specifically, introduction of hate speech regulation, limitations to anti-advertisement, and imposing responsibility over contents of ads to media outlets are all worrisome in the current context in Georgia. A significant part of the proposed amendments leave impression that they are directed against freedom of expression and place unfair burden on media, which will clearly have a negative effect on the work of media outlets during the election period.
In light of this, the draft fails to address the existing challenges in election administration composition and does not provide any essential improvements to alleviate the dominance of the ruling party in electoral commissions. The changes prepared by the ruling party do not address any recommendations submitted by election observer organisations on such important matters as election administration composition, misuse of administrative resources, electoral dispute resolution and campaigning regulations.
ISFED believes that working on electoral reform should continue and the draft needs to be revised to respond to the existing challenges before it is imitated in the Parliament. ISFED is ready to continue participation in subsequent discussions of the electoral reform.
Find the statement here: