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 You are in: Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs: Press Relations Office > Press Releases (Other) > 2003 > November
Press Statement
Adam Ereli, Deputy Spokesman
Washington, DC
November 21, 2003


Presidential Election in Georgia

The United States is deeply disappointed in the conduct of Georgia’s November 2 Parliamentary elections, which failed to meet the commitments made by the Georgian leadership to the OSCE and to the United States. The delay of the vote count and the manipulation of the results revealed an effort by the Central Election Commission and the Georgian government to ignore the will of the people.

The United States concurs with the OSCE’s assessment that inaccuracies in the voter list lessened voter confidence. Some progress was made in increasing transparency, although Ajara and Kvemo Kartli were clearly sources of massive fraud. The failure to provide an accurate, timely and transparent count of the vote overshadowed the progress made in some other areas.

The parallel vote tally conducted by the National Democratic Institute and supported by reputable exit polls, which we believe to be the best available gauge of the will of the voters, differs significantly from the results released by the Central Election Commission. These discrepancies reveal an extensive manipulation of the count.

All sides must now work together to find a way forward that enjoys credibility with Georgia’s voters. The United States calls on the Government to respect freedom of the media, peaceful expression and assembly, and on all parties to react to the results peacefully and in accordance with Georgia’s constitution. The United States urges the Government of Georgia to conduct an independent and transparent investigation immediately and hold accountable those who violated the law. We will continue to follow closely legal appeals of the election results, which will be an indicator of judicial independence.

The United States supports Georgia's stability and security, and the aspirations of the Georgian people to be a democratic, prosperous and peaceful nation. Throughout the election campaign and the elections themselves, we urged the Government of Georgia and opposition parties to honor their commitments and provided an extraordinary amount of assistance. President Bush sent former Secretary of State James A. Baker III to meet with President Shevardnadze and opposition leaders in July 2003 to urge their commitment to a free and fair election. We spent $2.4 million dollars to support bilateral and OSCE programs to train election workers, administer a parallel vote tally, and conduct information programs.

2003/1195

Released on November 21, 2003

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