23 Oct 2016 - 14:47
One of the leaders of opposition party United National Movement (UNM), Georgia’s ex-First Lady Sandra Roelofs is refusing to participate in the second round of the Parliamentary Elections after claiming the official election results were falsified.
Roelofs, wife of ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili and number two on UNM’s party list, said it was "disrespectful” for her to participate in the second round of the elections that she believed were falsified.
Roelofs was a UNM majoritarian candidate in Zugdidi, western Georgia. The initial October 8 vote was nullified in several polling stations in Zugdidi due to incidents on Election Day and a repeat vote was held yesterday.
In the initial vote the ex-First Lady gained the second highest number of votes and was due to participate in the run-off alongside a Georgian Dream candidate in the second round on October 30.
Everyone knows that I won the first round of the elections so I consider it to be disrespectful to participate in the second round of these unfair so-called democratic elections,” Roelofs told local Odishi News.
She alleged the election results had been falsified not only in Zugdidi but in the whole country.
Roelofs said she was surprised by the assessment of international organisations, who had said the October 8 elections in Georgia were well-run and democratic.
Despite Roelofs' refusal to participate in the election runoff, she still has a chance to enter Parliament by ranking so high on UNM's party list.
Georgia’s Central Election Commission (CEC) said if a candidate refused to participate in the second round, their name would remain on the election ballots, meaning people could still vote for them. If this candidate wins the second round, a by-election will be held to fill the vacant majoritarian seat in Parliament.
Meanwhile shortly after the initial vote on October 8 UNM criticised the legitimacy of the results and said UNM could boycott the second round of voting. Later the party announced it had changed its mind and UNM would participate in the election runoff.