Georgia’s Central Election Commission has rejected applications from two Russian organizations to register as observers for the parliamentary election on October 1. September 9, the CEC decided to deny the State Duma of the Russian Federation and Fund for Free Election to register as observers. The rejection comes as a consequence of a recent amendment of the election code with effectively introduced a ban on election observers from any country that fails to recognize Abkahzia and South Ossetia as parts of Georgia. Russia has recognized both regions as independent states. The initiators of the law explained that the goal was to “keep away observers that might have a conflict of interest or some kind of agenda. Observers should be politically impartial.” Sergey Markov and Maxim Gregoriev, members of Public Chamber of Russia, were among those whose application was rejected.
Russian edition Izvestia.ru quotes members of group, who were refused to register, saying that they believe the reason of refusal was due to the fact that in the last presidential election in Georgia their group together with Ukrainian observers found a number of serious violations that proved that the election process was without legitimacy. Maxim Grigoriev, member of Public Chamber remembers some instances of violations in the previous election and believes that the government will repeat the same violations this time.
Another reason for the refusal, as he sees it, might be the fact that Russian observers have objected to the way opposition figure Bidzina Ivanishvili is running into obstacles when trying to register for the election, as the country has revoked his Georgian citizenship, which doesn’t allow him to participate in the election.