On February 10, 2016, Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association (GYLA) held a conference to conclude the project Improving Electoral Legislation, and to present recommendations jointly elaborated within the project by GYLA, International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy, and Transparency International – Georgia for improving national legal framework for elections. The joint recommendations cover issues including the electoral system, staffing of electoral administration, election disputes, special polling stations, abuse of state resources, vote buying, media regulations and others. Recommendations elaborated within the project will be submitted to the Parliament of Georgia.
In order to raise public awareness about the joint recommendations, roundtable discussions were organized in the following eight large cities of Georgia: Kutaisi, Batumi, Telavi, Gori, Rustavi, Ozurgeti, Zugdidi and Dusheti. Participants of the meetings, including representatives of local authorities, media, political unions and civil society organizations received information about recommendations for improving national electoral legislation. The roundtable discussions clearly illustrated local public perceptions and sentiments about various aspects of the electoral reform. Participants were especially interested in rules for staffing of electoral administration and expressed different opinions about the issue.
In addition to the roundtable discussions, GYLA organized TV programs to be aired by local TV stations in the following large cities of Georgia: Kutaisi, Batumi, Gori and Telavi. The TV programs provided an opportunity for active citizens, local NGOs, political parties and other interested individuals to participate in discussions and voice their opinions about election-related issues.
The project is implemented with support from the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and it aims to improve electoral legislation with active citizen participation. It is a yearlong project scheduled to be completed at the end of March 2016.