Statement from the Mission of Foreign (International) Observers on Observation of the Presidental Elections in the Republic of Abkhazia
Mission of foreign (international) observers
On observation of the presidential elections in the Republic of Abkhazia
Sukhum, December 13, 2009
Mission of foreign observers at the presidential elections in the Republic Abkhazia including people having recognized international authority in the field of citizens’ voting rights and freedoms, carried out short-term observation of the voting procedures, the counting of votes and determination of the results of the voting on December 12, 2009.
In all 16 observers were accredited to the Mission: from Austria, Bulgaria, Germany, Lithuania, Poland, Serbia, Slovakia, the United States of America, Finland, France, Czech Republic and Switzerland. MPs of different levels, well-known political scientists and sociologists, a number of professors, experts in the field of the law and election technologies application are among them.
The presented report gives a general assessment of the election legislation in the Republic of Abkhazia and the degree of its observance during the elections.
The legislative basis on the whole provides the necessary foundation for democratic elections. First of all, it is formed by the Constitution and the Constitutional Law of the Republic of Abkhazia “About Presidential Elections in the Republic of Abkhazia”. The law is up to the international election standards, ensures the possibility of free and democratic elections. Participation of the citizens of the Republic of Abkhazia in elections is free and voluntary. Nobody has the right to force citizens to participation or nonparticipation in elections, as well as interfere with their free expression of will.
The Mission also points to the following aspects of the election process:
• the Republic of Abkhazia’s presidential candidates were registered as a result of an open process;
• the Central Election Commission acted on the whole at a professional level and in the atmosphere of transparency;
•the election bodies and courts considered complaints and appeals, providing, on the whole, timeliness of electoral problems consideration observing principles of appropriate election process.
On the whole, the Law “About Presidential Elections in the Republic of Abkhazia” provides appropriate foundation for democratic elections.
As at December 12, 2009 130 thousand voters were registered. Lists of voters at each polling station were drawn up by a local election commission according to the established form, on the basis of the data provided by the head of a local administration.
5 candidates expressing interests of different political parties and strata of the society participated in the presidential elections.
Election bodies worked in a transparent manner, representatives of all presidential candidates, mass-media, the civil society had an access to their work. The Central Election Commission on the whole worked professionally on the elections organization, conducted an explanatory campaign for voters, reacted properly to complaints received during the election campaign.
Observers note that the presidential elections were held in the atmosphere of pluralism, giving a political choice to voters and with observance of universal democratic standards.
Voting was well organized and held in a peaceful atmosphere. Observers assess the course of election procedures positively on the whole. The election commissions followed procedural rules; good knowledge of election procedures by the majority of voters is also noted.
Our groups observed opening of 9 polling stations in Sukhum, the course of the voting at polling stations in the Sukhum, Gulripsh, Ochamchira, Tkuarchal districts. We assessed positively all stages of the voting on December 12, 2009. Each voter voted personally. No incident or violation of the voting procedure which would influence the free expression of will was detected.
At all the polling station we visited, there were local observers what gives high-degree credibility to the results of the voting.
The Mission of foreign (international) observers at the presidential elections in the Republic of Abkhazia:
• considers that the elections were held according to the norms of the election legislation in force in the country and with observance of international democratic standards, in the atmosphere of equal political competition;
• recognizes the presidential elections free, open and legitimate;
• will strive for informing the world community of its work and the elections results.