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Withdrawn GD candidate wins

By Diana Tasueva
Tuesday, June 17
According to the Central Election Commission’s preliminary data, Georgian Dream candidate Merab Topchishvili, who removed his candidacy prior to the elections, received the most votes in the Marneuli governor elections.

The CEC informs that Topchishvili received 52.48 % of the votes, while the United National Movement candidate Akmamed Imakuvliev received 31.75% of votes.

Several days before the election, Imamkuliyev had to withdraw from the candidates’ list. The decision was confirmed by the Central Election Commission. However, a court reinstated him later. Imamkuliyev’s case caused several clashes in the region. After the confrontation the Georgian Dream appealed to Topchishvili to remove his candidacy. The coalition stressed that they did not want to encourage any type of ethnic conflict there. Topchishvili obeyed the verdict. But, it was late to remove him from the ballot papers, as the fact took place just several days before voting.

According to Eka Azarashvili, spokesperson of the Central Election Commission, Topchishvili can hold the governor’s post if the final outcome of the elections does not change.

Topchishvili said that he is ready to take the post. Topchishvili stressed that he trusted Marneuli citizens and expected to be a winner despite the fact he was removed.

“Citizens of Marneuli proved that they made this decision due to the work that I have done and not due to ethnic or religious aspects,” Topchishvili stated.

Topchishvili is going to hold this post, as he wants to justify the people’s hope. He declared that not only Georgians voted for him, but Armenians, Azerbaijanis and people from other ethnic groups.

According to the leader of the Georgian Young Lawyer’s Association, Kakha Kozhoridze, if the candidate from the GD coalition was officially withdrawn from the registration, his vote cannot be taken into account.

“If Topchishvili removed his candidacy, the fact should have been marked in the ballot paper. If his candidacy was officially removed, and if there is an official document reflecting the fact, he will not be able to take the position,” Kozhoridze said.