Thousands of Georgians have staged a mass protest over the results of the country’s presidential runoff vote, alleging widespread electoral fraud and demanding snap parliamentary elections. About 25,000 opposition supporters demonstrated in the capital, Tbilisi, on Sunday, days after the former Soviet nation elected its first woman president, Salome Zurabishvili. An independent candidate backed by the ruling Georgian Dream party, Zurabishvili claimed almost 60 percent of the vote to beat the opposition candidate Grigol Vashadze on Wednesday. But opposition leaders including Vashadze have refused to accept the result, pointing to instances of alleged vote-buying, voter intimidation and ballot-stuffing in the election’s second round.
Articles about voting issues in Georgia.
Thousands of Georgians protested in the capital Tbilisi on Sunday against the result of the country’s presidential election, as defeated candidate Grigol Vashadze said opposition parties would challenge the outcome in court. Vashadze has described the election as a “criminal farce” and has called for snap parliamentary elections after the central election commission said on Thursday that Salome Zurabishvili, who was backed by the ruling Georgian Dream party, had secured 59.5 percent of the vote. Vashadze had 40.5 percent, it said. “We don’t recognize illegitimate results of this rigged election and demand an early parliamentary election to be called in the country,” Vashadze told thousands of supporters at Sunday’s rally in Tbilisi. Zurabishvili is set to become the country’s first female head of state, although the role is largely ceremonial.
Georgia (Sakartvelo): Georgians set to vote in hotly contested presidential runoff | Associated Press
Two of Georgia’s former foreign ministers are facing off against each other Wednesday in a tight runoff that will mark the last time Georgians elect their head of state by popular vote. Georgia, a nation of nearly 4 million people in the volatile Caucasus region south of Russia, is transitioning to a parliamentary republic. Presidential powers have been substantially reduced with the prime minister becoming the most powerful figure in the country. After the new president’s six-year term ends, future heads of state will be chosen by delegates. …Though the election lacks the usual importance, it is seen as a crucial test for the ruling Georgian Dream party which is led and funded by billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili who made his fortune in Russia.
Georgia (Sakartvelo): Election Commission: Georgia presidential vote goes to second round runoff | GDN
Georgia’s presidential election will go to a second round runoff between two of the country’s former foreign ministers after no single candidate won outright in the first round of voting, the country’s Central Election Commission (CEC) said on Monday. After all the votes from Sunday’s first round of voting had been counted French-born former diplomat and foreign minister Salome Zurabishvili had secured 38.7 percent of the vote, while Grigol Vashadze, also a former foreign minister, had won 37.7 percent of the vote, the CEC said. With neither managing to get more than 50 percent of the vote necessary to win outright, a runoff between Zurabishvili and Vashadze will now be held sometime between now and Dec. 2.
Neither of the two front-runners in Georgia’s presidential election was likely to win enough votes to secure victory in the first round of voting, the first officials results show. The Central Election Commission (CEC) said that according to results from 14 percent of the polling stations, Salome Zurabishvili secured 40 percent of the vote and Grigol Vashadze won nearly 38 percent. Zurabishvili, a French-born former foreign minister, has the backing of the ruling Georgian Dream party. Vashadze, also an ex-foreign minister, is running for the opposition United National Movement (UNM). Their closest challenger, former parliament speaker Davit Bakradze, who was nominated by the opposition European Georgia party, was a distant third with 10.8 percent of the votes.
Georgians voted in presidential elections on Sunday, with two former foreign ministers as the frontrunners for the largely ceremonial office. French-born Salome Zurabishvili is projected to be elected with 52.3 percent of votes, according to the exit polls funded by the ruling Georgian Dream party that is backing her, with anti-corruption Grigol Vashadze of the main opposition party expected to secure only 28.1 percent. But later on Sunday, the speaker of the parliament from the ruling party, Irakli Kobakhidze, said at a news conference that the results from 1,000 polling stations suggested that there would be a second round. Fifty percent plus one vote is needed to win the first round.
Georgia’s Rose Revolution, one of the most dramatic and hopeful episodes of the post-Cold War era, will mark its 15th anniversary in a matter of weeks. For 20 days in November 2003, citizens flooded the streets of Tbilisi and other major cities to protest a stolen election. By the end of the month, a strongman had resigned and a new Georgia was born. At the time, most Western observers saw these protests and elections as a triumph of the liberal, democratic world order. Today, as the gains of 2003 erode, this former Soviet republic is in danger of becoming a cautionary tale. I was able to assess the matter for myself this week on a trip to Tbilisi for a conference aptly titled “The World Upside Down.” It’s a mixed picture. On the one hand, there are genuine opposition parties and a free press. Most urban Georgians consider themselves European, and most of their politicians still openly say they want to join NATO. When the leader of the Rose Revolution, Mikheil Saakashvili, stepped down as president in 2013 after losing an election, another important milestone was reached with the peaceful transfer of power.
The Central Election Commission of Georgia has tested electronic machines for vote-counting during the Zugdidi by-elections yesterday. Electronic voting machines (EVMs) use a keyboard, touch-screen, mouse, pen or other electronic device to allow voters record their votes electronically. DREs are used in polling stations. The system captures the voter’s choices and stores an electronic record of their vote in the machine. The data captured is then transmitted by either electronic means or manually.
Georgia (Sakartvelo): Tbilisi Condemns Illegal Elections and Referendum in Breakaway Tskhinvali | Georgia Today
Official Tbilisi condemns the presidential election and referendum held on 9 April 2017 in occupied Tskhinvali (South Ossetia) Region of Georgia. Georgia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) has released an official statement, saying any elections or referendum in the occupied territories of Georgia are illegal and cannot have any legal effect. “This provocative act by the Russian occupation forces grossly violates the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia and represents yet another attempt to legitimize the consequences of several waves of ethnic cleansing, military invasion and ongoing occupation of Georgian regions,” the statement reads. The MFA says that holding the referendum on changing the name of one of the oldest Georgian regions into “Republic of South Ossetia — State of Alania” is aimed at laying the ground for its illegal annexation.
Georgia (Sakartvelo): South Ossetia Says Bibilov Leads Vote In Election Condemned By Georgia, U.S. As ‘Iillegitimate’ | RFERL
South Ossetia’s election officials say Anatoly Bibilov, the speaker of the breakaway Georgian region’s parliament, has taken the lead in a presidential election that was rejected by Tbilisi and condemned as “illegitimate” by the United States. The election commission on April 10 said Bibilov had 48.7 percent with 35 percent of votes counted, Russian state-run TASS news agency reported. A candidate needs 50 percent to avoid a runoff on April 23. Turnout was reported at 81 percent. TASS quoted Bibilov as claiming he had won 54.9 percent of the vote, avoiding the runoff. The news agency said 78 percent of voters supported a referendum to change the region’s name to “Republic of South Ossetia – State of Alania,” a move also condemned by Georgia and the United States.