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Leader of opposition Alliance of Patriots announces hunger strike

By Messenger Staff
Tuesday, November 10
Irma Inashvili, the leader of the Alliance of Patriot opposition party, who recently took part in Sagarejo by-elections and was narrowly defeated by the Georgian Dream coalition candidate there, has stated that she is starting a hunger strike to protest the “rigging of elections” in Sagarejo.

She also accused the Ministers of Defence of Defence and Environment Protection of interference in the elections in favour of the Coalition candidates.

The by-elections took place on October 31 in the Sagarejo and Martvili election districts; the elections were held because the Sagarejo majoritarian deputy Tinatin Khidasheli had to leave her post due to her appointment as the Minister of Defence, and Martvili majoritarian MP unexpectedly died.

Responding to the accusations, Khidasheli answered shortly that “the court can decide if there is any problem.”

The post-election report by Transparency International Georgia reads that the NGO had three mobile groups to observe the election processes in the Sagarejo and Martvili single-mandate districts.

“Based on our observations, the voting processes in both districts were carried out in a calm environment and serious violations have not been observed. However, our monitors detected numerous, mostly procedural, flaws which were usually fixed by election administration after our appeals,” TI said, noting that major problems were related to the legal professionalism of the precincts’ election commissions as well as infrastructural problems.

If there really were any violations, the court must of course take appropriate action. For this Inashvili and her supporters will have to reveal genuine evidence that the elections were truly rigged, as other observers did not report any falsification of the elections.

However, with regards to Inashvili, despite the fact that she was narrowly defeated, defeat is defeat, no matter whether the margin of defeat is big or slight, especially when only one candidate can be declared the victor.

The fact itself that the difference was not big means that some other parties other than the opposition United National Movement (UNM) and the ruling Georgian Dream coalition have a chance to achieve success in the upcoming parliamentary elections in 2016.

The more parties in Parliament could bring more benefit to the state's interests.