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No surprises are likely in run-off elections

By Messenger Staff
Thursday, July 3
Despite the fact that the June 15 local elections are viewed to be democratic, there is one additional significant feature related to the election race as well. The run-off is to be held in 8 cities and 39 municipalities. The situation itself represents the fairness of the elections. The outcome is a merit of the amendments introduced in the election code just prior to the elections, which stresses that the winner should receive 50+1 votes. Thus, certain candidates, despite the fact they defeated their opponents, did not overcome the threshold.

Logically, the second round is a chance for the opposition to win the elections. Those opposition parties that took part in the first round alone should consolidate their members in order to gain success in the run-off. However, the situation is different in Georgia. The Georgian opposition failed to unite during the first round and it is unlikely for them to manage unification for the run-off as well.

It concerns the United National Movement (UNM) as well, which forms parliamentary minority. The UNM was defeated by the coalition in 2012. However, since that time, the UNM has managed to run second during the presidential elections in 2013 and in the recent municipal elections. It should be stressed as well that in the local elections, the UNM could not win but showed better results than any other opposition party.

It is unlikely that opposition candidates will be able to defeat the Georgian Dream candidates, as neither the UNM nor the non-parliamentary opposition parties are prepared to unify. Nobody wants to be affiliated with a party that has discredited itself so much. Despite this, the UNM remains a major opposition party. The UNM managed to collect just above 20% of the votes during the first round, and analysts suggest that the party will fail to accumulate more votes through the run-off.

2014 local elections also gave a chance to the pro-Russian-leaning forces to emerge in Georgian politics. It is possible that in the future, they might even replace the UNM as the country’s main opposition party.