Opposition Files to Court to Annul Zurabishvili Candidacy

The United Opposition, a coalition of eleven political parties led by the United National Movement, has filed a lawsuit to Tbilisi City Court demanding the results of the Presidential runoff to be annulled, citing the Article 47 of the Election Code, which reads “a nominee who has pursued the above [voter bribing] activities personally or via any physical or legal persons, will lose their registration following the Court decision.”

Speaking at a news briefing on December 10, Giorgi Vashadze, head of the campaign headquarters of Grigol Vashadze, the opposition’s presidential candidate, focused on vote-buying during the election campaign and noted that they would demand the Court to annul Salome Zurabishvili’s nomination as a candidate based on these claims.

“We demand cancellation of Zurabishvili’s registration as a candidate in a way as envisaged by Georgian legislation that will lead to the annulment of the election results,” Vashadze said, stressing that if they fail to achieve any result at a local level, “we will apply to international courts, included in Strasbourg.”

He also noted that their lawsuit is accompanied by the conclusions of all trustworthy international observation organizations, indicating that the elections were held against the background of mass bribing of voters. “Salome Zurabishvili is not a legitimate president and it has its legal justification,” Vashadze claimed.

The opposition coalition also called on the prosecutor’s office to bring charges against Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze and Tbilisi Mayor Kakha Kaladze under the Article 1641 of the Criminal Code which foresees a fine or imprisonment up to 3 years for the crime of voter bribing. Vashadze said that by promising to write off bad debts worth 1.5 billion for 600,000 persons “they committed a crime during the live broadcast.”

“Our public statement imposes an obligation on you to immediately start legal proceedings against these two men,” Vashadze addressed the prosecutor’s office, adding that “sooner or later the law will triumph.”

“Our struggle will continue and we will use all mechanisms at disposal to bring this struggle to the end… We are getting ready for coming to power. It is just a matter of time, when it will happen,” Vashadze added.

On November 28, Georgians went to the polls to elect their fifth president. The ruling party-backed candidate Salome Zurabishvili obtained 59.52% of the votes, while her challenger – Grigol Vashadze of the United Opposition finished with 40.48% of the votes.

During the meeting with supporters on November 29, the opposition leaders said that they would not accept election results and called for early parliamentary elections. On December 2, the coalition held a protest rally in front of the Parliament building in Tbilisi, voicing the same demands.

The inauguration of President-elect, Salome Zurabishvili is planned in a eastern Georgian town of Telavi on December 16. Simultaneously, the opposition coalition plans to hold a protest rally.

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