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Ruling party wins municipal elections in preliminary data

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Monday, October 23
Georgia’s Central Election Commission (CEC) has calculated the votes from all 737 precincts across Tbilisi and stated that the mayoral race in the capital was won by the Georgian Dream ruling party’s candidate, former footballer and energy minister Kakha Kaladze, with 51.06%.

The result means that Kaladze overcame the mandatory 50 percent threshold and there will be no run-off in Tbilisi.

In the official figures, Kaladze was followed by an independent candidate, Aleko Elisashvili, with 17.47percent of the votes; Zaal Udumashvili from the United National Movement opposition with 16.53percent; and Elene Khoshtaria from the European Georgia opposition with 7.13percent.

The CEC preliminary results for the Tbilisi City Council (Sakrebulo) elections showed that four political parties have made it into the Council through the proportional election system.

A party must clear a 4 percent threshold to enter the Sakrebulo. The parties who managed this are:
Georgian Dream – 52.96 %
United National Movement – 17.62 %
European Georgia – 9.19 %
Alliance of Patriots – 5.64 %

As for the majoritarian system, in all election districts of Tbilisi the races have been won by Georgian Dream candidates.

There are four more self-governing cities other than Tbilisi in Georgia.

The CEC preliminary results showed that in all of these cities – Batumi, Kutaisi, Rustavi, Poti – the Georgian Dream candidates earned comfortable leads.

In Batumi, Rustavi and Poti, Georgian Dream candidates overcame the 50 percent threshold, however in Kutaisi the leading candidate has 48.56 % and the city is very likely to see a run-off.

Prime Minister of Georgia Giorgi Kvirikashvili and the Georgian Dream celebrated the victory shortly after the exit polls were released.

“Today, the majority of the electorate voted for the political power that has done so much for Georgia in the past five years, and that has even greater plans for the future. I would like to thank everyone for the support and a high level of trust. We fully understand that this is the greatest responsibility, and I would like you to know that we, every one of us, are sparing no effort to cement this trust,” Kvirikashvili said.

The PM stated despite the fact not everything was perfect in the country, the population "clearly saw" Georgia is "on the right track."

“Our people have seen that there is stability in the country, and the authorities today govern through love, not division and hatred," he added.

The PM also thanked the international monitoring missions and local observers for the "important work” they have done.

An independent candidate for Tbilisi’s mayoral vacancy, Aleko Elisashvili, stated there was an “unequal fight” in the elections.

“The battle was very unequal during the pre-election period. We saw that tens of millions of GEL were legally or illegally registered, there was massive support from the governmental media and terrible campaign against me in social networks; security was also actively involved,” Elisashvili said.

“We saw very unacceptable incidents when the ruling party took people to the polling stations. However, despite this, the results of the Central Election Commission are official,” he said, adding that he wanted to establish a new political culture in Georgia but wished every success to Kaladze.

The United National Movement candidate Zaal Udumashvili stated that a special operation was conducted all day long during the elections against the Georgian people.

“We saw how the population was pressured and controlled all day long by representatives of Georgian Dream at the polling stations. Our supporters planning to participate in the elections were intimidated. Therefore, we got the result the government wanted, as the Georgian Dream acted against the Georgian people and Tbilisi residents,” Udumashvili said.

Kaladze thanked his voters and the Georgian people and said the time was over in Georgia when voters were pressured.

Georgians voted for 2,058 members of 64 city councils (Sakrebulo) and 64 municipal mayors.

Twenty-two political parties, five election blocs and one initiative group have registered their party lists for the elections.

To win the mayoral elections, candidates must clear a 50 percent threshold.

CEC stated election turnout was 45.64 percent.

In total 1, 570, 500 voters participated in the elections, out of the registered 3,440,123 voters.

The final election turnout in Tbilisi was 43.4percent.