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OSCE Interim Report Assesses Georgian Presidential Campaign

Giorgi Margvelashvili (left), presidential candidate from the ruling Georgian Dream coalition, and Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili wave to supporters during an election rally in Tbilisi in September.
TBILISI -- The OSCE's Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) says Georgia's presidential campaign has so far been "notably calmer" than last year's parliamentary elections.

But in an interim report issued on October 15 ahead of the October 27 vote, ODIHR said the campaign has nevertheless been marked by tensions between the ruling Georgian Dream coalition of incumbent Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili and the parliamentary opposition United National Movement of outgoing President Mikheil Saakashvili.

It says this tension has been compounded by the arrests of several close associates of Saakashvili.

According to the report, the campaign "has been negatively impacted by allegations of political pressure" on representatives of Saakashvili's party at local self-government institutions. The report also noted a lack of "critical analysis and analytical reporting" by Georgian media covering the campaign.