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Opposition leaders vote for the future

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Monday, May 31
Almost all opposition politicians voted during the first half of polling day, May 30, underlining what they were voting for and what they expected from the local elections.

“I am voting for change; the voters are quite active, so we are very optimistic. I am sure the day will pass calmly. I expect that the election will be conducted normally and our democracy and state will be stronger after these elections. Of course, we have great hope of success,” Irakli Alasania, the Alliance for Georgia’s Mayoral candidate, stated. Fellow Alliance leader Davit Gamkrelidze from the New Rights added, "This day is very important in Georgia’s history. People should make the right decision and give power to their favoured candidates.” Another Alliance member, leader of The Way of Georgia Salome Zourabichvili, appealed to people not to believe exit polls. "I have voted for Georgia’s future and for changes to take place in the country, and therefore for Irakli Alasania. Consequently I appeal to Georgian citizens not to pay any attention to the results of exit polls,” Zourabichvili said.

“I voted for the truth. Throughout the election campaign we have been telling people the truth and I call on the population to vote for the truth as well. I am ready to continue the fight,” Zviad Dzidziguri, National Council candidate for Mayor, said. Fellow National Council member Zurab Noghaideli, leader of the Movement for Fair Georgia, said that, "I have voted for Georgia’s unification, our country’s development and establishing democratic values and principles, but more voters should participate in the election,” Noghaideli said.

“Sooner or later this Government will be defeated. We have already discovered a lot of violations and brought them to the attention of the Central Election Commission,” Gogi Topadze, leader of Industry Will Save Georgia and the party’s Mayoral candidate, stated.

The Parliamentary minority Christian Democrats’ also expect a positive outcome from the elections. "I voted for my city’s future and a better life for Tbilisi residents. People can see that these elections are the chance to change things for the better. I am waiting for positive outcomes and I hope everything will be changed in a positive way,” the Movement’s Mayoral candidate Gia Chanturia said.

The Democratic Party's Mayoral Candidate Davit Iakobidze was certain he had won. "I am sure of my success, however the most important thing for me is to hold elections based on democratic principles. I am very glad that these elections differ from all those held in Georgia and in Tbilisi in previous years, and are taking place without confrontation,” Iakobidze stated. Public Democrats Mayoral candidate Nika Ivanishvili said he would not leave politics if the results weren't favourable. "I will wait for the results, however, if the results are not encouraging for us, the Public Democrats will go on fighting for a better future,” Ivanishvili said.

Members of Nino Burjanadze’s Democratic Movement-United Georgia also voted in the elections, although Burjanadze herself was unable to do so as she had meetings in Europe. However National Forum members refused to take part and Labour refused to put up candidates, though it stopped short of demanding a complete boycott. General Secretary of the Labour Party Giorgi Gugava said, "The present Government does not need the votes of living voters as it already has the votes of dead ones. Although the Labour Party has boycotted the elections, our members are free to participate if they wish. We have not appealed to the public to boycott the poll, we have called for a boycott of the special Government operation it calls "elections". It is necessary to take real steps to replace this Government," Gugava said.