One Script Fits All! US Ambassador to Georgia Decries Russian Interference in Upcoming Elections

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TBILISI – Georgia should expect Russia’s interference in the elections, said US Ambassador to Georgia Kelly Degnan , answering a question from journalists about the upcoming October 31 parliamentary elections.

“Russia has a scheme of intervention, including disinformation campaigns and other efforts, it happened consistently and was not connected only with the elections. This is why the United States and international donors have taken the initiative to raise awareness among the Georgian public and help Georgians distinguish fake news from good journalism, ”she said.

According to Kelly Degnan, it is important that political leaders provide voters with “the right information on topics that matter to them.”

“As you can see, the election campaign has begun and a very tense rhetoric is already visible. I call on all political parties, all political leaders to help society better understand their platforms on issues such as education, health care, the plan for economic recovery after the coronavirus pandemic, because these are the issues on the basis of which the voter should go to elections and make a good choice for the future of Georgia … This is the best way to overcome future misinformation from Russia or any other direction, ”the US ambassador said.

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She also called on political parties to ensure “effective and full implementation of electoral reform”, which “should facilitate the conduct of free and fair elections in the country.”

This is not the first time that the US ambassador to Georgia has declared “Russian influence” on the Georgian elections, without citing facts and evidence at the same time. In addition, the very rhetoric of the American diplomat can be called interference in the internal affairs of Georgia, in particular, her statement that she knows “what the Georgian people want.”

“The elections are approaching, a lot of political rhetoric, a lot of statements. I think it is important that the Georgian people want a more proportional electoral system, a more representative parliament, which requires cooperation from the parties. Any move that limits the elections or complicates the possibility of forming a formal coalition government after the elections is premature and does not contribute to the achievement of the goal demanded by the Georgian people – a more proportional and more representative parliament, ”said Kelly Degnan.

The next parliamentary elections in Georgia will be held on October 31. 150 deputies will be elected to parliament in general elections – 120 from proportional party lists, and 30 from majoritarian single-mandate constituencies. The passing barrier for parties will be 1%; for blocks, the number of percentages must not be less than the number of parties included in the block. The transition to this system became possible precisely after the intervention of the US Ambassador to Georgia, at whose residence on March 8 the Georgian authorities and the opposition signed a memorandum on changes to the electoral system. In total, 68 political forces expressed a desire to take part in the elections, the CEC of the country allowed 59 of them.

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