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Opposition refuses to enter Parliament

By Natalia Kochiashvili
Tuesday, November 3
The CEC has completed the counting process of the election results that were held on the 31st of October and the constituency of the 10th convocation of the parliament became known - candidates from the list, as well as majoritarian party leaders. According to the CEC, in the proportional part, the Georgian Dream received 48.22% of the vote, which equates to 928,780 votes. The Georgian Dream will get 61 out of 120 seats for the proportional list. Because the ruling party, according to the CEC, also exceeded the 40.5% minimum, the so-called Minimum locking threshold. The party also has the privilege of summarizing the mandates received from the proportional part and the majoritarian constituencies.

In the first round of elections in the majoritarian constituencies, according to the CEC, the Georgian Dream won 14 seats, the second round will be held in 16 constituencies, including all constituencies in Tbilisi. Thus, the Georgian Dream already has 75 seats, and to win a simple majority it needs to win only in one constituency.

The second round in 16 districts is scheduled for November 21st. The CEC should not postpone the publication of election summary protocols until December 10.

Meanwhile, the opposition parties consider the 2020 elections to be rigged and do not intend to enter parliament. No opposition party that received more than 1% of votes recognizes the election results as legitimate and is not going to enter the new parliament.

All opposition parties the European Georgia, Lelo, the Labor Party, Girchi, UNM power in unity, Strategy Builder, Citizens, and Patriots Alliance have boycotted the election results and none of them is included in the 10th convocation of the Georgian Parliament.

Strength in Unity, an election bloc led by the United National Movement, which according to preliminary CEC results garnered 27,13% of votes, announced that it does not recognize the legitimacy of election results and will, therefore, boycott the next parliament.

European Georgia (EG) Chairman Davit Bakradze announced at a briefing that his party has decided to boycott the parliament, adding that EG, which according to preliminary CEC results accumulated 3.78% of votes, will not participate in runoffs planned to take place in 14 out of 30 single-mandate majoritarian districts.

Giorgi Vashadze, leader of Strategy Aghmashenebeli party, which received 3.15% of votes, announced that the party will boycott the next parliament.

Badri Japaridze, leader of the Lelo for Georgia party (3.16%) announced that his party does not acknowledge the legitimacy of election results and will also refuse to enter the next parliament. Japaridze called for snap elections to take place as soon as possible.

Zurab Japaridze, leader of the libertarian Girchi party (2.89%), announced that the party, refusing to recognize the results, will boycott the next parliament.

In a press conference held on November 2 with other opposition parties, Strength in Unity, an election bloc led by the United National Movement, announced that it is refusing the mandates for the Supreme Council of Autonomous Republic of Adjara, the region’s 21-member legislative assembly. The Supreme Council elections were held on October 31, parallel to the general parliamentary elections in Georgia. The UNM and other opposition parties announced a rally outside the Adjara government building on November 3 to defend their votes.

Only the ruling Georgian Dream party (45.86%) and the UNM-led bloc Strength in Unity (33.95%) – were able to cross the 5% threshold in the proportional part of the Supreme Council elections. GD has also managed to secure a first-round victory in 1 of the 3 single-mandate majoritarian constituencies of the Adjara Supreme Council; run-offs are expected in the remaining 2.

The opposition has planned a rally this Sunday to protest the results of the elections and demand snap elections.

According to Irakli Kobakhidze, executive secretary of the Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia, the opposition's statements about boycotting parliamentary activities mean capitulating to the second round of elections:

“They are losing all the elections in the second round and they are avoiding the second defeat from the very beginning,” Kobakhidze said at a briefing. According to him, GD and its election headquarters will start preparing for the second round of elections on November 3rd.

MEPs David McAllister, Marina Kaljurand, Sven Mikser, and Viola von Cramon-Taubadel released a joint statement on the first round of the parliamentary elections. MEPs congratulate Georgia, “a key ally of the EU, on successfully organizing the first round of the parliamentary elections despite a difficult epidemiological context.”

They noted that these elections were found to be competitive and freedoms were respected overall, despite deplorable cases of pressure on voters and blurring of the line between the ruling party and the State throughout the campaign and on election day.

Members of the European Parliament pointed out that candidates were able to campaign freely, giving voters a genuine choice between a variety of platforms. "The level of interest and engagement on the part of civil society actors also constitutes a positive feature of these elections." Note that the European Parliament wasn’t able to send an observing delegation, but they based their assessment on the ODIHR’s position, that was released the previous day.

Tamar Chugoshvili, an independent MP and former Vice-Speaker of the parliament announced that “these elections have international legitimacy. Under these conditions, neither voters nor international partners will understand the opposition's refusal to participate in the election runoff.” According to Chugoshvili, not entering the parliament was the biggest mistake made by the opposition in the past, and "this mistake can not be repeated."