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Ruling party wins mayoral, city assembly races in Georgia, 2nd round to be held in Mtatsminda

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Tuesday, May 21
The Georgian Dream ruling party has won the May 19 by-elections held in Tbilisi and regions for one MP, five mayors, and eight city assemblies, as the Georgian Central Election Commission counted all votes on Monday.

The runoff will be held only for the MP of Mtatsminda district in central Tbilisi, where candidates were unable to overcome the mandatory 50-percent threshold.

The Georgian Dream ruling party candidate in Mtatsminda, Doctor Lado Kakhadze received 41 percent of votes, while his opponent from the Free Democrats and the European Georgia unity, lawyer Shalva Shavgulidze gained 38.83 percent of votes.

The runoff will take place no later than June 13.

The Georgian Dream mayoral candidates defeated their opponents from the united opposition [the United National Movement and allied opposition parties] in all the five cities of Zugdidi, Chiatura, Zestaponi, Marneuli, and Khulo.

Zugdidi was the 'tension point' of the elections, where former first lady, wife of Georgia’s third President Mikheil Saakashvili, Sandra Roelofs was running for the mayor.

Hundreds of opposition activists were at the scene 'to protect the elections.'

After the race, Roelofs talked about her plans on revolution as she 'won the race and results were fabricated.'

The statement caused controversy even in the United National Movement, with one of the party leaders Nika Melia saying that 'speaking about a revolution was not right, and the statement was hasty.'

The Georgian Dream members also won all the vacant seats in eight city assemblies of Sagarejo, Akhmeta, Adigeni, Zestaponi, Chiatura, Tkibuli, Tskaltubo and Ozurgeti.

The Georgian Dream members stated that they won with an 'overwhelming and convincing victory,' and the attempts of the United National Movement, 'to derange the election process, turned out to be fruitless.'

Political Secretary of the ruling party, former PM Irakli Garibashvili urged Roelofs to 'look after her husband and have a rest,' while they 'look after the country.'

The Georgian Young Lawyers Association and the International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy stated that the elections were conducted without such violations, which could influence the election results.

The by-elections came after the resignation of several mayors and members of the city assemblies, criminal charges brought against two mayors and the election of Salome Zurabishvili as the president of Georgia last year, whose seat as a Mtatsminda MP became vacant.

International observers are expected to provide evaluations regarding the by-elections.