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Has UN Rejected Georgian Opposition Request To Oversee Municipal Elections?

Despite official assurances, opposition leader Kakha Kukava has demanded voter lists be checked.

Despite official assurances, opposition leader Kakha Kukava has demanded voter lists be checked.

The United Nations will not monitor the May elections to municipal councils in Georgia, spokesman Martin Nesirsky was quoted by Russian media as announcing on January 5.

Referring to the request endorsed by 21 opposition parties that the UN administer the vote, Nesirsky reportedly pointed out that only national governments may submit such requests to the UN. He added that the UN does not monitor elections, although it can supply "technical support."

The summary of Nesirsky's January 5 midday press briefing posted on the UN website makes no mention of the Georgian request, or of the UN reaction to it.

Joseph Shatberashvili, co-chairman of the Labor Party that was behind the initiative, cast doubt on the authenticity of the Russian reports, pointing out that the request was formally submitted to the UN only on January 5. The opposition had, however, made public last week its intention to ask for UN oversight of the vote.

The Georgian government for its part has formally asked the European Union to monitor the May elections.

Also on January 5, Civic Registry Agency head Giorgi Vashadze told a press conference in Tbilisi that the accuracy of local records of births and deaths has improved to the point that he can exclude the possibility that voter lists include the names of deceased persons on whose behalf illegal additional ballots could be cast, Caucasus Press reported. Conservative Party leader Kakha Kukava is nonetheless demanding that voter lists be rechecked.

Kukava also appealed on January 5 to other opposition parties to nominate their own candidate for the vacant post of Central Election Commission chairman. He said the two candidates already proposed -- outgoing Chairman Levan Tarkhnishvili and Vashadze -- are not acceptable. The deadline for nominations is January 8.

About This Blog

This blog presents analyst Liz Fuller's personal take on events in the region, following on from her work in the "RFE/RL Caucasus Report." It also aims, to borrow a metaphor from Tom de Waal, to act as a smoke detector, focusing attention on potential conflict situations and crises throughout the region. The views are the author's own and do not represent those of RFE/RL.