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Opposition parties do not accept the results of the run-off elections in Georgia

Monday, 01 November 2021 17:14 hits 643 times
In the photo - Nika Melia at the opposition protest rally on October 31
In the photo - Nika Melia at the opposition protest rally on October 31

On October 31, Nika Melia, candidate for the mayor of Tbilisi from the United National Movement, announced a massive protest gathering on Sunday, November 7.

„We need some time to plan a protest, demonstration of a scale not seen before on Freedom Square. The whole world will know of this demonstration, different from other rallies in many regards“, -  Melia said.

The opposition decided to change the date of the demonstration to November 6. Presumably because on November 7, 2007, when UNM was a ruling party, the government ordered to raid broadcaster „Imedi“, force it off-air, violently disperse the demonstration and declare the state emergency. This date still triggers negative emotions in many Georgians.

„Elections held on the background of total violence were totally rigged“, - Melia added.

No one should have the illusion that a government, especially the one that belongs to Bidzina Ivanishvili, will be able to retain the results of fraudulent, violently stolen elections.

In Tbilisi, the contest was between Nika Melia and Kakha Kaladze, the candidate from the ruling party and former player for A.C. Milan. Kaladze, who could not win the absolute majority in the first round with 45% votes, received 55% in the second round and was elected mayor for another 4-year term.

Based on the provisional data from the Election Administration of Georgia, out of 20 self-governing cities, the opposition only won in Tsalenjikha.

In major cities, such as Zugdidi, Kutaisi, Batumi, where the government used administrative resources to support their candidates, the opposition only lost with the difference of 2-3%.

Several former officials, now supporting the opposition, were arrested before the second round. Prime Minister Gharibashvili stated that the government would have less motivation to implement projects in municipalities won by the opposition. This statement was perceived as an attempt to threaten and blackmail voters.

The opposition claims the number of invalid votes was a mechanism of the fraud. In several major cities, the amount of invalid papers is higher than the difference in votes between electoral candidates. In Batumi, the government candidate only won with 1526 votes, and 2071 papers were invalidated. In Kutaisi candidate from „Georgian Dream“ has 2222 more votes than the candidate from the opposition, but 2396 papers are invalid. In Chkhorotsku, 408 papers were invalidated, and government candidates won with 2018 votes. Journalists working on October 30 elections were in unsafe conditions.

OSCE/ODIHR observation mission stated that there was only a thin dividing line between the party and the state. „The last week before the elections, isolated incidents occurred, including confrontation outside a party office and arrests of former police officers affiliated with the opposition. Candidates were able to campaign freely, but widespread and consistent allegations of pressure and intimidation and the undue advantage of incumbency persisted between the two rounds. The second round of the local elections was generally well administered. Still, continued polarization coupled with the escalation of hostile rhetoric adversely affected the process.“

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