2013-EO-Georgia-Soares-Schoen-Oliver-KanervaJoao Soares, Tina Schoen, Spencer Oliver and Ilkka Kanerva in Tbilisi on 25 October.COPENHAGEN, 25 October 2013 – Former OSCE PA President Joao Soares (MP, Portugal), who was appointed by the OSCE Chairman-in-Office to serve as Special Co-ordinator of the OSCE observer mission to the 27 October presidential election in Georgia, opened the briefing of the short-term observers today in Tbilisi.

Also participating in the briefing was OSCE PA Vice-President Ilkka Kanerva (MP, Finland), who was appointed by President Ranko Krivokapic to head the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly's delegation to the mission. Kanerva and Soares opened the briefing along with Meritxell Mateu Pi, Head of Delegation of PACE; Krzysztof Lisek, Head of Delegation of the European Parliament; and Mati Raidma, Head of Delegation of the NATO PA.

Soares, who has served as the OSCE PA's Special Representative on South Caucasus since July 2011, will lead more than 300 OSCE observers. The OSCE PA is co-operating closely with parliamentarians from PACE, the European Parliament and the NATO Parliamentary Assembly. The OSCE, joined by the other parliamentary assemblies, will field more than 400 international observers for the election, to be complemented by more than 1,000 local observers.

Deputy Secretary General Tina Schoen, who is an expert on Georgia and the Caucasus, is in charge of organizing the PA election observation mission, assisted by Operations Officer Iryna Sabashuk and Special Adviser Andreas Baker, along with Director of Presidential Administration Roberto Montella and Secretary General Spencer Oliver who are also participating in the election observation mission.

The OSCE PA has observed nine elections in Georgia since 1995. Since 1993, the OSCE PA has deployed more than 4,000 parliamentarians to observe 125 elections across the OSCE area.