MEPs praised the "significant progress in the electoral process" for Monday's parliamentary elections in Georgia, while pointing out that there were "still some shortcomings".

"The progress was particularly visible in the respect of freedoms that allowed for a very active and vibrant citizen participation and a competitive campaign, although polarised", said Milan Cabrnoch (ECR, CZ), head of the eight-member EP delegation to the international election observation mission in Georgia, speaking in Tbilisi on Tuesday.

"I cannot stress enough how important and crucial these elections are in terms of the continued democratic development of Georgia. Our preliminary conclusions today, and the final recommendations of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe / Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (OSCE/ODIHR), once they are published, should be taken as the goal to achieve in view of the upcoming presidential elections", he added.

"Georgia is an important partner of the EU", Mr Cabrnoch continued. "We have always been and are a determined supporter of the promotion of democracy and reforms in Georgia. And this will be possible if those who have been elected exercise responsibly, in power or as opposition, their democratic privilege and continue on the path of reform, for the benefit of the Georgian people."

The other members of the EP delegation to the international election observation mission, in Georgia from 29 September to 2 October, are Krzystof Lisek (EPP, PL), Elena Băsescu (EPP, RO), Arnaud Danjean (FR, EPP), Edit Herczog (HU, S&D), Norica Nicolai (RO, ALDE), Indrek Tarand (GREENS/EFA, EE) and Juozas Imbrasas (EFD, LT).  They observed polling and the vote count in the Georgian capital Tbilisi and surroundings.