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UNM to decide whether to participate in second round of elections

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, October 12
The United National Movement opposition party, which gained 27.14 % of the votes in proportional voting and which opposes the ruling team in 44 out of 50 majoritarian constituencies, say they are undecided on whether to participate in the second round of voting and enter Parliament.

Georgia’s Central Election Commission (CEC) has announced the preliminary results of the October 8 Parliamentary Elections, which said the UNM will gain about 27 seats in the 150-seat legislative body.

The figure will rise if the UNM manages to win majoritarian constituencies, as 77 lawmakers in the Georgiam parliament enter through proportional system, while the remaining 73 via a majoritarian race.

The UNM and the ruling Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia (GDDG) party will oppose each other in the second round of the majoritarian race in 44 constituencies out of 50, where the second round of elections are scheduled as only about 50 candidates managed to overcome the 50% threshold.

The ruling team gained 48.6% in proportional voting, thus securing 44 seats in the legislative body and it has good chances to win almost all majoritarian sits.

The UNM has chances in one or two constituencies, where it opposes the representatives of some other parties, experts say.

Shortly after the election outcomes were aired, Georgia’s ex-President and now the Odessa Governor, Mikheil Saakashvili - who is wanted by Georgia’s law enforcers on several charges - said the UNM should not participate in the second round of voting as it has no meaning.

Saakashvili opposed the statements of all international and local observing organisations and said the elections were falsified.

He stressed that the second round of elections would also be falsified.

Some members of the UNM now say they must participate in the second round and enter the Parliament, while another part stresses they must boycott entering the parliament.

“My firm position is that we should enter Parliament,” UNM member Elene Khoshtaria said.

“Given that the United National Movement is the only pro-Western party in the country, I think that self-isolation is an action against freedom of the country and its statehood,” Givi Targamadze from the same party stated.

UNM leader David Bakradze said “the fight continues” and stressed the party will make a joint statement about its future intentions in the coming days.

UNM member Akaki Minashvili claims the party must not participate in the second round and shared Saakashvili’s view on the falsification of the elections.

Analyst Levan Kalandadze believes that entering or not entering the parliament will both be challenging for the UNM, as the party is composed of “revolutionary” and “evolutionary” wings, who will have opposing attitudes.

Kalandadze believes the revolutionary faction is linked with Saakashvili and they have a serious financial background, while the evolutionary members sincerely want to transform the party.

“If the evolutionary part of the organisation opposes the revolutionary faction, the latter will lose financing. however, if everything happens as the revolutionaries want and the confrontation process moves into the streets, it will more degrade the image of the UNM and marginalise it,” Kalandadze said.

He added that in this situation it was better for the UNM to enter Parliament, as all international organisations said the Georgian elections were competitive and free.

A member of the ruling team, Gia Volksi, believes that a refusal to enter Parliament means taking a step against the state.

Herewith, he believes that the ruling force will manage to compose the Government without the UNM, as only 100 lawmakers are needed.

The latest preliminary figures by the election administration read that three parties overcame the 5% threshold : the GDDG, UNM and the Alliance of Patriots. The Alliance of Patriots is likely to have only six seats in the legislative body as it gathered a little more than 5% of the votes.