On 30 October the ruling party Georgian Dream – Democratic Georgia (GDDG) won the second round of parliamentary elections that took place in 50 single-mandate constituencies and gained a 116-seat majority required to change the Constitution (it won 67 seats in the first round and 49 in the second). The opposition United National Movement (UNM) will remain with 27 seats and the pro-Russian Alliance of Patriots - with 6 seats. Now GDDG will be able to introduce its candidate for the post of a Prime Minister, who has more authority than the President and will form the new government. GDDG won in 48 out of 49 districts where it nominated its candidates. In Mtatsminda district of Tbilisi GDDG supported an independent candidate, Salome Zourabichvili, who won. In all 44 districts, where GDDG’s main rival was UNM, GDDG candidates won with a significant margin (e. g. 79.27% against 20.73 in Saburtalo district), including two districts (Marneuli and Akhaltsikhe/Adigeni), where UNM candidates won the first rounds. The only district, where GDDG candidate was defeated, is Khashuri, where a candidate from the Industrialists party managed to gain victory.
Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili hailed "free, fair, and transparent elections" as "yet another step forward for Georgian democracy." "I congratulate everyone on the successful passing of this important democratic test," he said in a statement.
Opposition parties have accused the government of massive vote rigging in the elections. "Georgians were denied their right to make a free electoral choice," UNM co-leader Giorgi Baramidze told.
Georgia's exiled former president and UNM's founder Mikheil Saakashvili said that "The elections were held amid all-out falsifications".
The election commission rejected the allegations.
OSCE/ODIHR international election observation mission (IEOM), which also included representatives of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and the European Parliament, recognised the runoff elections in Georgia as competitive and administered in a manner that respected the rights of candidates and voters. IEOM noted improvements in adherence to procedures, especially during counting, compared to the first round. Furthermore, news coverage of the main political parties by monitored broadcasters was more balanced than during the first round. As regards to the drawbacks, IEOM mentioned overcrowding of the polling stations and presence of unauthorised persons who interfered with the work of Precinct Election Commissions (PEC). IEOM also marked that the principle of transparency and the right to effective redress were often not respected in the investigation and adjudication of election disputes by election commissions and courts. There are no explicit legislative regulations for the second round, which left rooms for subjective interpretations and inconsistencies in the application of the law.
Picture: Marco Fleber