OSCE/ODIHR Election Observation Mission Final Report - 2008 Presidential Election
Following an invitation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia to observe the 5 January 2008 extraordinary presidential election, the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (OSCE/ODIHR) deployed an Election Observation Mission (EOM) on 6 December 2007, consisting of 41 experts and long-term observers. The OSCE/ODIHR EOM assessed compliance of the election process with OSCE commitments and other international standards for democratic elections, as well as with domestic legislation. On election-day, the OSCE/ODIHR joined efforts with observer delegations of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly (OSCE PA), the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) and the European Parliament (EP) to form an International Election Observation Mission (IEOM).
In its Statement of Preliminary Findings and Conclusions of 6 January, the IEOM stated that while the election was in essence consistent with most OSCE and Council of Europe commitments and standards for democratic elections, it also revealed significant challenges which need to be addressed urgently. Although this election represented the first genuinely competitive post-independence presidential election, shortcomings were noted. The campaign was overshadowed by widespread allegations of intimidation and pressure, among others on public-sector employees and opposition activists, some of which were verified by the OSCE/ODIHR EOM. The distinction between State activities and the campaign of the ruling United National Movement (UNM) party candidate, Mr. Mikheil Saakashvili, was blurred. In addition, as referenced in a Post-Election Interim Report issued by the OSCE/ODIHR on 18 January, other aspects of the election process, notably vote count and tabulation procedures, as well as the post-election complaints and appeals process, further presented serious challenges to the fulfillment of some OSCE commitments.