Georgia and its leaders have made a clear and unambiguous choice to promote and abide by a core set of democratic values and ideals, while working tirelessly towards the goal of full NATO membership. Georgian troops have played an important role in a variety of challenging NATO-led operations abroad, including in Afghanistan and Kosovo. Their high level of professionalism, as well as their sacrifices, in the missions in which they have been involved so far, clearly demonstrate that Georgia has much to bring to the table as a future NATO member.
In the run-up to the October 1 parliamentary elections, Georgia has put a robust system in place to support a free and fair electoral process. Numerous internationally recognized observer delegations will be present on election-day to confirm that the voting process was indeed conducted in a scrupulously free and fair fashion – in accordance with the highest level of international electoral standards. The voice of these independent arbiters must be heard and must be respected.
Once the Georgian people have spoken, and after their votes have been properly tallied and verified by relevant authorities and credible observer groups, we urge all political actors to respect the outcome, put their differences aside and work together, peacefully, to move the country forward. Any sort of post-election attempts aimed at creating unrest, or at subverting the political will of the electorate, would be a grave injustice to the Georgian people and would certainly be met with a high level of criticism both at home and abroad.
The world will be watching the coming election very carefully. Georgia’s very future is at stake here, as is its reputation in the international community. These elections will be an important test for Georgia’s democracy. They represent a chance for all Georgians, regardless of party affiliation, to show the world just how far they have come in the last decade and to underscore that back-sliding is simply not an option.
Our thoughts are with the Georgian people as they prepare to cast their vote in support of a peaceful and prosperous future, one that they have sacrificed so much to achieve and now so richly deserve. We stand with them to resist Russian efforts to subvert Georgia’s hard-won democracy.
Emerson, Turner, Ross and
Chandler are members of the U.S. delegation to the NATO
Parliamentary Assembly. Turner is Chair of the U.S. delegation.