For nearly 25 years the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) has supported the development of democratic elections and political processes in Georgia. While recent national electoral cycles further cemented the peaceful transition of power, a lack of political pluralism threatens Georgia’s path toward a stronger, more stable, resilient democracy and its responsiveness to citizen needs. To address these issues, IFES is conducting an innovative United States Agency for International Development-funded project, “Elections and Political Processes Support” (EPPS). Working with a diverse group of local partners, EPPS combines demand- and supply-side efforts that target underrepresented groups, including women, youth, ethno-religious minorities and persons with disabilities. The range of interventions is designed to help develop sustainable and healthy political competition based upon policy and principle – not on personality – and to address ongoing electoral challenges.
Supporting Electoral Reform: IFES provides technical assistance for a Multi-Stakeholder Forum of political parties, civil society organizations and other domestic and international partners, ensuring inclusive engagement of stakeholders in electoral reform. Using a consensus-based approach, the forum series has helped produce electoral reforms aligned with international standards as Georgia prepares for parliamentary elections in 2020.
Enhancing Election Administration Capacity: IFES delivers customized assistance to Georgia’s Central Election Commission (CEC) by offering comprehensive training and technical expertise, including technological updates to optimize performance and increase transparency and efficiency. IFES assists in advancing the role of women, ethnic minorities and persons with disabilities in election administration through outreach and training. IFES also advises the CEC to assess cybersecurity threats and online disinformation and provides tools for prevention and response.
Empowering Youth, Women and Marginalized Groups: IFES encourages active citizenship and participation in electoral processes by all segments of the population and has worked locally to conduct activities targeting women, ethnic minorities, internally displaced persons, persons with disabilities and students. An IFES-developed, fully accredited university-level civic education course that introduces students to democratic citizenship, systems of government, civic participation and human rights is currently offered at 31 universities across the country. Course lessons also encourage students to identify and address community problems through extracurricular civic action projects.