Play by play of Georgian parliamentary elections - photo, video
Georgians went to the polls on October 31 to vote for the country’s 10th convocation of parliament.
The elections were held under a new system – the four-fifth of the MPs – 120 out of 150 – were selected via the proportional voting system, while the remaining 30 seats were distributed among majoritarian districts running in 30 single-member constituencies.
To enter parliament, a party must have gained more than one percent of the vote, while a bloc of parties had to receive at least as many percent of the votes as there are subjects in the bloc.
The new electoral system was agreed upon in the spring of 2020 after nearly six months of massive street protests in 2019 and lengthy negotiations between the government and the opposition, mediated by Western diplomats.
The main opposition forces earlier concluded a pre-election agreement and nominated single majoritarian candidates in Tbilisi.
Multiple exit polls released following the closure of voting stations from both the opposition and the government paint two drastically different pictures of who won the elections.
Four exit polls - two different results
Four different exit polls were conducted today:
By opposition-minded Mtavari Arkhi and Formula,
And by pro-government channels Imedi and Rustavi 2.
The results are here:
"There are more violations than in previous elections" - Transparency International
Up to 130 minor and relatively serious violations were recorded during the day, said Eka Gigauri, head of Transparency International.
This is significantly more than during the presidential elections in 2018 and the parliamentary elections in 2016.
Basically, the violations were as follows:
• Physical confrontation and obstruction of the activities of a journalist
• Attack on a journalist
• Expulsion of observers
• Violation of the secrecy of voting
Opposition rally by the parliament – photos
Several hundred opposition supporters have gathered outside the parliament in Tbilisi.
The rally was announced in advance and agreed upon with the mayor’s office, its participants will watch the results of exit polls on large screens, which will be announced after the closure of the polling stations at 20.00.
There are many journalists and police on site.
45.77% turnout by 17:00
1,607,530 people have voted in today’s elections in Georgia as of 15:00 across the country.
Employees of Ombudsman's Office attacked in Ksani prison
Aggressive prisoners in the Ksani prison (near Tbilisi), who were considered low-threat, attacked representatives of the Ombudsman’s office.
Human rights defenders were in the prison building and talked with prisoners in private to find out about the general situation in the prison, as well as to find out if any pressure was exerted on their choice in voting.
However, these conversations were interrupted by two “controllers” who shouted loudly, including to other prisoners, that “since 2012 everything is in order in the penitentiary system.” In 2012, the government changed in Georgia, and the Georgian Dream came to power.
Public Defender Nino Lomjaria is preparing a special statement on the impact of the criminal underworld in prisons.
36.54% turnout by 15:00
1,279,947 people have voted in today’s elections in Georgia as of 15:00 across the country.
Photo: JAMnews/David Pipia
Tense situation at Gldani district polling stations in Tbilisi
Salome Samadashvili, a spokeswoman for the United National Movement opposition party, said she had been threatened by several people from a crowd gathered near polling station No. 39 in the Gldani district of Tbilisi.
“I was told that Saakashvili’s supporters had ‘nothing to do here’ and they advised me to ‘be smart’ and leave,” she told reporters.
There are many people near this and several other sites and there are reports that journalists are being prevented from working.
Ex-president Saakashvili: "The elections are going very well, Ivanishvili is over, the people must take the country back"
Former Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili is the founder of the opposition National Movement party. In all polls prior to the elections, the party ranked second after the ruling Georgian Dream party and is considered the leading opposition force in Georgia.
Addressing voters, Saakashvili said that “a very important historical moment has come, it is important to bring it to the end and then all together begin to build a new Georgian state.”
Clashes at polling station in Gldani district of Tbilisi. Video
A fight broke out at polling station No. 44, between supporters of the opposition and the ruling party.
Several people were arrested. Among them is Irakli Edzgveradze, a spokesman for Nika Melia’s headquarters, who is the majoritarian candidate from the united opposition in the Gldani region.
United Opposition is preparing large rally in front of parliament. Photos
The united opposition has received permission from the mayor’s office to hold a rally and is urging its supporters to come to the parliament building at 19:00 to listen and discuss together the results of the exit polls, which will be announced at 20:00.
Large screens and speakers are installed in front of the parliament, as well as barriers.
Photo: JAMnews/David Pipia
A surveillance camera was found near a voting booth in the city of Rustavi
This was reported by the organization “For Fair Elections and Democracy” (ISFED) – its representative noticed a camera at polling station number 1 in Rustavi.
As soon as the camera was pointed out, polling station staff moved it to another location.
Turnout stands at 19.41% by noon
By 12 o’clock, 681,583 people had voted.
The highest activity is still in the Racha-Lechkhumi and Svaneti regions with 28 percent turnout, while the lowest is in Adjara, with 17.9 percent.
Photo: Tbilisi, October 31, 2020. JAMnews/David Pipia
Georgian ruling party leader accuses opposition of trying to ‘destabilize the situation’
Representatives of the opposition parties European Georgia and Agmashenebeli’s Strategy tried to steal a mobile ballot box in the city of Bolnisi (Kvemo Kartli region), said Irakli Kobakhidze, executive secretary of the ruling Georgian Dream party.
He claims that the incident took place at the 55th polling station in Bolnisi, involving Arzuman Khasiev from European Georgia and majoritarian candidate Elimdar Miriev.
Kobakhidze also says that “the opposition has mobilized ‘sonderkommando’ teams in certain regions of the country, including Bolnisi”:
“[Opposition politician] Dimitri Shashkin is demonstratively walking about with a pistol. We warn that any attempt at destabilization will be punished in accordance with the law.”
By 10 a.m. 8.33% of Georgian voters (292,587) had cast their ballot
The highest turnout rates in Racha-Lechkhumi and Svaneti (11.8%).
Lowest turnout has been in Adjara, with 7.3%.
Photo: Tbilisi, October 31, 2020. JAMnews/David Pipia
10 violations were recorded by 10 am
This was reported by the Young Lawyers Association (GYLA), which keeps a record of submitted complaints.
The majority of these violations were procedural, i.e. not allowing observers to enter polling stations or committing procedural violations when issuing ballots.
In general, polling stations opened on time, without significant violations, the GYLA reports.
Georgian Interior Ministry investigating ruling party claims that opposition is preparing ‘provocations’ during the elections
This was announced at a briefing at the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Fears about provocations were expressed by the executive secretary of the ruling Georgian Dream party Irakli Kobakhidze.
Voting is so far taking place in a calm atmosphere, Kobakhidze said.
Opposition observers in Marneuli not allowed into polling station, clash ensues, police summoned
A small clash took place at polling station No. 5 in Marneuli (Kvemo Kartli region, 40 minutes south of Tbilisi), and the polling station suspended work for several minutes.
Lasha Kveladze, a spokesman for the opposition United National Movement (created by ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili), said that party observers were not allowed in to observe voter registration.
Ana Iluridze, chairman of the district electoral commission, said that the problem arose because of the noise generated by a large number of journalists at the polling station.
Marneuli is traditionally a hot spot in all elections in Georgia, so many Georgian media have sent their correspondents here.
75 people from the US Embassy observing the elections
US Ambassador Kelly Degnan told reporters who arrived at the Central Election Commission at 9 am that “the elections are very important for Georgia. The main thing is a calm environment and free choice,” she said.
"We’ll take 100 seats of 150" - leader of the ruling party, oligarch Ivanishvili has already voted
Bidzina Ivanishvili came to vote with his wife.
Leaving the polling station, he told reporters: no coalition is needed, “the majority of the population has universal human values, and therefore the Georgian Dream will win again.”
Polling stations opened at 8 am
Voting has begun in Georgia and will last until 20:00 pm.
• There are 3,526,023 registered voters for these elections
• The new parliament of Georgia will have 30 majoritarian spots, while earlier there were 73.
• 50 subjects are participating in the elections – 48 political parties and two electoral blocs.
• 33,657 polling stations have opened throughout the country. 127 polling stations have been created for those voters who are in quarantine or self-isolation.
• 52 polling stations were opened abroad in 38 countries of the world. Including 2 sites opened in Afghanistan.
• The elections will be observed by 132 local organizations, which mobilized a total of 46,981 observers. Also, 910 foreign observers have arrived to monitor the election process.
• 118 media outlets were accredited for the elections, with a total of 5,971 journalists.