Open Society Institute Appeals for End to State of Emergency in Georgia
NEW YORK—The Open Society Georgia Foundation and the Open Society Institute urge the immediate lifting of the state of emergency declared by President Saakashvili.
We support the president’s decision to call for early elections on January 5 provided they can be held under conditions that conform with international standards for a free and fair electoral contest. The state of emergency needs to be lifted before the campaign begins. All candidates must be granted equal access to the media and domestic and international election monitors need to have unimpeded access to polling places. The Open Society Georgia Foundation will be engaged in monitoring the elections.
We also call for the rapid restoration of freedom of the media and the establishment of an independent commission to review cases of alleged improper imprisonment, excessive use of force by law enforcement officials, and the destruction and confiscation of private property.
We appeal to all parties to work on forging a political consensus though a dialogue aimed at strengthening Georgia’s young democracy.