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