Markus Löning, the Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy, commented as follows on the forthcoming parliamentary elections in Georgia:
“The parliamentary elections of 1 October will be a litmus test for democracy in Georgia. By joining both the Council of Europe and the OSCE, Georgia has undertaken to maintain democratic standards and to protect freedom of opinion and freedom of the media.
The interim report published by the OSCE/ODIHR election observation mission on 10 September 2012 concluded that Georgia has not yet met these standards in all fields. Representatives of the Council of Europe and OSCE Parliamentary Assemblies have expressed their concern about issues including the authorities’ selective and arbitrary enforcement of campaign financing rules as applied to opposition parties. Various complaints have also been made by the opposition.
I call on the Georgian Government to ensure that the elections are free and fair. It is its responsibility to ensure that the law is applied in the same way to all parties. All parties must be given the same opportunities.
The fact that several parties are genuinely contesting this election is an important step towards greater democracy in Georgia. All political forces in Georgia should seize this opportunity to enhance the confidence of the Georgian people and the international community in Georgia’s commitment to democracy and thereby bring the country closer to Europe.”