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Ruling Georgian Dream Party Wins Five of Six Districts in Municipal Election Run-Off

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Tuesday, November 14
The ruling Georgian Dream (GD) party won five out of six districts in municipal election run-offs on November 12, according to Georgia’s Central Election Commission’s (CEC) preliminary results.

The run-off came on the heels of the October 21 municipal elections in districts of Kutaisi, Kazbegi, Khashuri, Borjomi, Martvili and Ozurgeti, where candidates failed to obtain more than 50 percent of the mandatory votes.

GD’s candidates were victorious in every district, except in the western region of Ozurgeti, where an independent candidate Konstantine Sharashenidze received 50.11percent of the votes.

GD’s arch-foe and largest opposition party, the United National Movement (UNM) opposition refused to participate in the run-off in Martvili and Kutaisi after they claimed that the original October 21 local elections were rigged in favor of the Georgian Dream.

Most of the country’s opposition parties complained of ballot stuffing and voter suppression.

The Georgian Dream, which has dominated local politics since sweeping to power in 2012, captured nearly all mayoral seats and obtaining a majority in most city councils around the country.

National Democratic Institute (NDI) echoed the opposition parties’ view and warned against “possible threats to democracy” caused by a traditional single-party dominance in Georgian politics.

2,143 representatives of political parties, 18,149 representatives of local observing organizations, 654 representatives of international organizations and 4,688 representatives of media outlets observed the run-off and reported technical violations, but “no major wrongdoings” during the poll.

The Georgian Dream received 56percent of the votes on October 21 and lost only two mayoral races to independent candidates.