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U.S. Ambassador Backs IRI amid “outrageous lies by the ruling party and their media affiliates”

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U.S. Ambassador Backs IRI amid “outrageous lies by the ruling party and their media affiliates”

11/05/2023 – 18:08

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Speaking with journalists at the Center for Disease Control program graduation today, U.S. Ambassador Kelly Degnan made a statement regarding the accusations, which she called “outrageous lies” voiced yesterday against the International Republican Institute/IRI by Parliament Speaker Shalva Papuashvili, as well as other members of the ruling Georgian Dream.

Kelly Degnan said: “I would like to address the outrageous lies spreading about the International Republican Institute by the ruling party and their media affiliates. IRI has been supporting multi-party democracy in Georgia for over 20 years. It’s important to note that Georgian Dream receives more support from IRI than any other political party, in fact, a number of GD leaders are graduates or alumni of IRI programming, have participated and benefitted from what IRI has been doing for all political parties in Georgia for over 20 years.”

She then noted it raises the question of why the ruling party is trying to stifle independent polling and attack young people “who are just interested in learning how to be good citizens in this country.” She stressed that although independent polling when it’s not supportive of your position may be inconvenient, “it is also very important to provide feedback and information to political leaders as to what the public’s priorities are.” And that’s why, she said, it is very important to allow responsible, independent polling like that done by IRI and NDI for many years in many countries around the world, supported by US Congress to continue.

She also said: “We have seen in Georgia that young people here want to contribute to the discussion of issues that will determine their future.” She said that is what IRI’s work is about: “It’s about helping them develop the skills to be able to discuss issues, especially when they have different views. It’s about helping them understand how to peacefully and constructively participate in their society, in the political process, working with the government, and working with civil society to contribute to their country’s future. IRI and NDI have been very, very important in supporting Georgia’s democratic development over the years”. Ambassador stressed that the U.S. government is proud to support them in their work.

Parliament Chairman Shalva Papuashvili yesterday attacked IRI for funding opposition parties “to promote the idea of violence in Georgia.” He said he said that “foreign money is being invested in Georgian politics through fake organizations and schemes. Recently, such schemes were revealed in the case of “Girchi,” “Droa,” “European Georgia,” and other parties. It is important for the audit service to take an interest in this issue”.

This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)


Georgia IRI Kelly Degnan

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Content retrieved from: https://civil.ge/archives/541922.

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