Opposition UNM could refuse to participate in election runoff

  • On October 8 Georgian citizens voted to elect the 150-seat Parliament of Georgia, 77 members through party lists and 73 in the majoritarian districts. Photo by Nino Alavidze/Agenda.ge
Agenda.ge, 10 Oct 2016 - 17:34, Tbilisi,Georgia

Opposition party United National Movement (UNM) gained the second highest number of votes in Saturday’s Parliamentary Elections but could refuse to participate in a second round after claiming the official results were falsified.

This afternoon UNM member Davit Darchiashvili said the party was currently discussing the various options available going forward. 

"There is a diversity of opinion in people and within the party too – this is no secret,” he said.

My opinion is that these elections were falsified so that the exact percentage needed for [Georgian] Dream’s victory was achieved by blackmailing and falsifying votes.”

Meanwhile another member and majoritarian candidate of UNM Tariel Londaridze said he would continue his fight in a second round of voting.

I’m not going to betray my voters; there will be a second round and I’m going to continue my fight as majoritarian,” he said.

Londaridze said UNM’s final decision would be known tomorrow.

Earlier today Georgia’s ex-president and UNM leader Mikheil Saakashvili published a video address from Ukraine, saying he thought UNM majoritarian candidates should not participate in a runoff.

Saakashvili said he did not believe a second round would change anything.

I don’t see the point [in participating in a second vote],” Saakashvili said.
Of course it’s up to individual candidates to make a decision [whether or not] to participate in a second round and practically legitimize the elections held with very serious violations.”

Meanwhile if UNM majoritarian candidates refused to participate in a runoff, the candidate with the next highest result will be involved in the forthcoming race.

A second round of vote for Georgia’s Parliamentary Elections will be held in 50 districts nationwide, latest preliminary results showed. 

To enter Parliament a majoritarian candidate must gain at least 50 percent of all votes in their respective voting district.

If no candidate gains at least a half of all votes, a second round of voting is held, where only two candidates with the highest number of previous votes compete.

There are 73 election districts in Georgia. Of these, Georgian Dream (GD) candidates won 23 districts while a winner was not identified in the remaining 50 districts.

With several exceptions, in almost all of the 50 districts where a runoff is needed, GD candidates appeared to be favourites, followed by candidates from UNM.

November 2 is the latest date when the second round of voting can take places, according to Georgian election legislation.