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Opposition candidate wins court dispute and becomes only non-GD Mayor

By Tea Mariamidze
Thursday, October 26
Tamaz Mechiauri from the For United Georgia opposition party won a court dispute on Wednesday and became the new mayor of Tianeti, a town in east-central Georgia in the Caucasus Mountains.

Mechiauri applied to the Mtskheta District Court several days ago, asking for the abolition of the decision made by the Tianeti District Election Commission late on October 22. In particular, the Commission satisfied the request of the ruling Georgian Dream (GD) representatives, re-counted the abolished invalid ballot papers and recognized five of them as valid.

The decision totally changed the results of the October 21 local elections, as those five votes were added to GD Tianeti Mayoral candidate Lela Kitesashvili, who moved from second place to the leading position which had initially been taken by Tamaz Mechiauri.

On October 25, Mtskheta District Court satisfied Mechiauri’s lawsuit and reversed the decision of the Tianeti District Election Commission.

Previously, the Central Election Commission (CEC) stated that Mechiauri received 3077 votes, while the candidate of the ruling Georgian Dream, Lela Kitesashvili, won 3081 votes – just four more than her opponent.

After the court verdict, Mechiauri was granted the same number of votes but Kitesashvili was deprived of the five invalid votes bringing her total to 3076.

While commenting on the Court verdict, Mechiauri stated that the illegal decision of the Tianeti District Election Commission had been reversed.

“Now I can go and celebrate my victory with my supporters,” he said.

Mechiauri’s lawyer, Mindia Shetekauri, stated that the court decision had “restored justice”.

“The court decided to leave the initial results of the elections in the Tianeti district, which means that Mechiauri has one vote more than the ruling party’s candidate,” the lawyer explained.

Moreover, the court imposed a 100 GEL fine on the Tianeti District Election Commission.

At first, Tamaz Mechiauri was a member of the GD party. In May 2016 he left the parliamentary majority and soon created a new political party, For United Georgia, with the composer Jemal Sepiashvili and the former Deputy State Minister on Diaspora issues, Sandro Bregadze.