Rejecting Results, Opposition Consider Next Moves

With two-thirds of precincts counted for the October 31 parliamentary election, opposition parties have again gathered at the Labor Party office on Sunday afternoon to ponder further action, before joining the rally outside the Georgian Parliament.

An idea of boycotting the parliament due to reported violations is floating in the air, but Zurab Japaridze, leader of the libertarian Girchi party confirmed that no party has yet decided to follow through with the boycott.

“We are consulting at the moment and, among others, watching the statements made by local and international observation missions, and we will make the final decision in this light,” Japaridze said. Although a relatively minor player, Girchi finished a surprising third in the Georgian capital with some 8% of votes.

Gigi Ugulava, leader of the European Georgia party, said that the majority of opposition parties and their members expressed their readiness to refuse to enter the parliament, however, party leaderships decided to take time till tomorrow to consult with their members.

“This was nothing like elections,” Ugulava remarked, adding that the European Georgia considers these polls illegitimate.

“It is obvious, what a total fraud we witnessed in the entire country,” said Khatuna Samnidze of the Republican Party, which was running as a part of the UNM-led “Strength in Unity” bloc. Samnidze said they continue to discuss the issue with international partners.

As the opposition parties held consultations, international observers, including ODIHR, OSCE PA, NATO PA, and PACE monitoring mission, issued preliminary assessments, which, while overall critical and pointing out a set of electoral violations, did not question the overall integrity of the vote.

Aleko Elisashvili, leader of the “Citizens” party, that appears to have crossed the 1% threshold, said that they have “huge respect” and “trust” towards international [observation] missions, “but, most of all, we trust our own eyes.” Elisashvili accused the Central Election Commission of  manipulating results in favor of the Georgian Dream, and argued that “the snap elections are the solution [now], and we will fight for it.”

In a separate press conference, leaders of the centrist Lelo for Georgia party, which scored over 3% according to preliminary results, announced that the party does not recognize the “fraudulent” results, adding that “snap elections are the only way out.”

The Alliance of Patriots, a Georgian nativist party with pro-Russian sympathies has also accused the Georgian Dream of rigging the election. According to party leader MP Irma Inashvili, the party does not recognize the results and is demanding a revote. According to the preliminary results, the Alliance of Patriots scored around 3% of the votes.

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