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EuropeEuropean Parliament Members on November 21 Runoffs

European Parliament Members on November 21 Runoffs

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Persecuted christians - Conference at the European Parliament about the persecution of Christians in Sub-Saharan Africa (Credit: MEP Bert-Jan Ruissen)

Break the silence on persecuted Christians

MEP Bert-Jan Ruissen held a conference and exhibition at the European Parliament to denounce the silence surrounding the suffering of persecuted Christians worldwide. The EU must take stronger action against violations of freedom of religion, especially in Africa where lives are lost due to this silence.

Leading MEPs on EU-Georgia relations said in their statement regarding Georgia’s November 21 runoffs that “all the political forces represented in the newly elected Parliament must work now in a constructive fashion, keeping in mind the greater interest of Georgia’s chosen European path.”

The signatories of the November 23 statement – Chair of the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee David McAllister (EPP, Germany), Chair of EP’s delegation for relations with the South Caucasus Marina Kaljurand (S&D, Estonia), standing rapporteur on Georgia Sven Mikser (S&D, Estonia), and Viola von Cramon-Taubadel (The Greens/EFA, Germany), EP’s lead member for democracy support activities in Georgia –  called on Georgian parties “to show responsibility, restraint and maturity, to respect the democratic choice of the electorate.”

Regretting that the opposition candidates withdrew contests from the runoffs, lawmakers called on political actors “to find the necessary compromises, notably through the new dialogue facilitated jointly by the EU and U.S. Ambassadors to Georgia, in order to enable the smooth functioning of Parliament, an institution vital for democracy.”

The MEPs highlighted that they endorse evaluation by the international electoral observation missions following the first round of October 31, and added that after the runoffs too they “expect a fair, transparent and thorough handling of all substantiated appeals and complaints.”

The four MEPs expressed the European Parliament’s readiness to assist Georgian political parties “to further improve relevant legislation ahead of future elections.”

Opposition candidates boycotted the majoritarian runoffs for all 17 single-mandate constituencies, as all major opposition parties are rejecting the outcome of the “rigged” October 31 parliamentary elections and refusing to enter the new parliament. They are demanding snap elections, the resignation of Central Election Commission chair Tamar Zhvania and the release of alleged political prisoners.

The U.S. and EU Ambassador facilitated two rounds of talks between the ruling Georgian Dream and opposition parties to end the political impasse, but with no success so far.

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