The candidates of the ruling Georgian Dream (GD) coalition are leading by-elections held in Sagarejo and Martvili on October 31, according to the early results of the Central Election Commission (CEC).
GD coalition candidates leading by-elections
By Tea Mariamidze
Monday, November 2
In Sagarejo, a GD candidate from the Republicans, Tamar Khidasheli has received 7540 (49.5%) votes, while one of the leaders of the Alliance of Patriots of Georgia, Irma Inashvili, has 6, 981 (45.83%). Three independent candidates were also running the race in Sagarejo, but none of them managed to get more than 4% of the vote.
Before the elections, Irma Inashvili accused Defense Minister Tina Khidasheli, who is also a member of the Republican Party, of artificially increasing the number of soldier voters from Sagarejo, in order to help Tamar Khidasheli, her relative.
According to early results, in the Martvili by-elections, GD's candidate Soso Danelia held a big lead over his only competitor in the race Eter Medzvelia from the Alliance of Patriots. Danelia received 72,54% (9620 votes), with Medzvelia getting 27.45% (3641 votes).
The Free Democrats and the United National Movement, as well as another 11 parliamentary and non-parliamentary opposition parties, refused to participate in the by-elections of Sagarejo and Martvili.
The parties say that with their boycott they aimed to attract the attention of international organizations and oblige the government to implement changes in the electoral code, which would result in the rejection of the majoritarian election system (wherein the MP is elected by direct voting) and replacing it with proportional representation (in which the parties receive the number of MP mandates proportional to the votes it gathered in the election).
According to the CEC, 12 complaints over procedural violations have been filed with the district election commission in Martvili and 4 complaints in Sagarejo.
International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED), which was monitoring the elections, said that no major violations have occurred and the voting process was held in a “calm environment.”
According to the CEC, from 39 polling stations in Martvili, the voter turnout was 39.99%, while in Sagarejo’s 50 polling stations, 34.43% of voters participated in the by-elections.
It should be noted that the two districts currently do not have their representatives in Parliament because the GD candidate of Martvili, Nauli Janashia died several months ago and the Sagarejo GD representative, Tina Khidasheli was appointed to the post of Minister of Defence.