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Local Elections Turnovers
Georgians voted for representative councils (Sakrebulo) and mayors of municipalities last Saturday. According to the preliminary results, the Georgian Dream - Democratic Georgia is the winning party in all Georgian municipalities, except for the district of Tianeti. In general, international observers considered the elections fair and transparent.

Change in results

Tamaz Mechiauri, the opposition mayoral candidate in the district of Tianeti, Mtskheta-Mtianeti region, experienced a win-lose-win situation.

The candidate was winning the local elections when the District Election Commission decided to recount five previously annulled ballots in favor of Lela Kitesashvili (the Georgian Dream - Democratic Georgia candidate), making her the winner instead.

Dissatisfied with the situation and claiming to have evidence of electoral fraud, Mechiauri successfully challenged the electoral result in court. He received the support of the International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy, whose observers accompanied the vote counting and publicly stated the lack of clarity in the tabulation process in this specific case.

Today, the Mtskheta City Court annulled the decision of the District Election Commission. For the court, the five controversial ballots shall continue to be considered invalid. As a result, Mechiauri became (again) the winning mayor by one vote of advantage. He is the only victorious opposition candidate in all Georgian Municipalities.

Kitesashvili said she is going to appeal the court’s decision and argued for holding new elections.

Opposition withdraws

The United National Movement (UNM) decided to withdraw from the second round of the municipal elections, as announced by the party’s Political Council on the 23rd. The decision was endorsed by Grigol Vashadze and Mamuka Danelia, the two party’s mayoral candidates who were qualified for the runoffs in Kutaisi and Martvili respectively.

The party’s positioning, however, was not unanimously held among its members. While MP Nika Melia classified the runoffs as “violently-held” and called all the opposition parties to withdraw too, MP Salome Samadashvili considered the decision a mistake and stated on her social media that the party should be there for its voters.

Although the party took this stand, the names of the UNM candidates will still be on the ballots, as the Georgian electoral code doesn’t allow candidates to officially withdraw from runoff elections.

Six municipalities still don’t know their future mayors and will have a second round of voting. These runoffs must take place before November 15th, according to the electoral code.

Future for the defeated

Aleko Elisashvili, who ran as an independent candidate for the Tbilisi city hall – and lost the election to Kakha Kaladze – said that he will cooperate with the new administration, providing all the necessary projects for the city, including the online platform “chemitbilisi.ge” created by his team.

He also disclosed thoughts on founding a political party, excluding the hypothesis of unification with other parties, and added that he is not going to accept any offer or position in the new administration.
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