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.
Articles about voting issues in Georgia.
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.
The European Union says it will not recognize what it described as “so-called ‘elections'” conducted on March 12 by Russia-backed separatists who control Georgia’s Abkhazia region. Maja Kocijancic, spokeswoman for EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, said on March 13 that the EU “supports the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Georgia, as recognized by international law.” She added that “the European Union does not recognize the constitutional and legal framework in which these elections have taken place.”
Georgia says legislative elections held by Russia-backed separatists who control the breakaway Abkhazia region were illegal. The Georgian Foreign Ministry condemned the March 12 voting in the Black Sea region as “yet another attempt to legitimize the ethnic purge, military intervention, occupation, and results of Russian aggression being carried out against Georgian statehood.”
Georgia (Sakartvelo): Ruling party in Georgia wins constitutional majority after vote run-off | Reuters
Georgia’s ruling party decisively won a second round of voting on Sunday, giving it more than three quarters of seats in parliament, enough to change the constitution if it wants, data from the Central Election Commission showed on Monday. The result cements Georgian Dream’s already firm grip on power in the ex-Soviet nation and is a crushing defeat for the opposition United National Movement (UNM) and its founder, former president Mikheil Saakashvili, a regional governor in Ukraine who has spoken of a possible return to his homeland. Georgian Dream, which came to power in 2012, is pro-Western but also favors closer ties with Russia, while the UNM is strongly pro-Western.
Georgia (Sakartvelo): Many irregularities in second round of Georgia’s election for parliament | Democracy & Freedom Watch
In parts of Georgia, voters went to the polls again on Sunday in the second round of the parliamentary election. There were runoff contests in 50 single-seat districts, accounting for a third of the seats in the assembly. Voting took place against a background of some minor and a few serious irregularities. The outcome of today’s vote will decide if the election winner in the first round, Georgian Dream, will get enough seats to have what’s called a constitutional majority and usher in a ban on same-sex marriage and limit the president’s powers. The number of precincts open for voting was 2,229. Georgian Young Lawyer’s Association (GYLA), said that by 14:00 their observers had noticed different types of violations. The Tbilisi-based organization filed 33 complaints and 25 notices today. There is tension in the village Kizilajo in Marneuli, where the results of the first round were abolished due to a riot-like incident. Georgian Dream and National Movement candidate are competing in this region.
The ruling party in Georgia decisively won parliamentary elections, firming its grip on power in the former Soviet nation, near-complete results showed on Sunday. With 99.41 percent of the votes in, data from the Central Election Commission gave the ruling Georgian Dream party 48.61 percent of the vote and the opposition United National Movement (UNM) 27.04 percent. A U.S. ally traditionally buffeted between Russia and the West, Georgia hopes to join the European Union and NATO one day even though that is something that Russia, its former colonial master, strongly opposes. With political stability still fragile — the first peaceful transfer of power since the 1991 Soviet collapse only took place four years ago – the authorities were keen the election be widely seen as free and fair to avoid a return to the days when politicians tried to seize power by force.
Georgian Dream won parliamentary elections, retaining power by edging the party of former President Mikheil Saakashvili, an exit poll showed. Georgian Dream received 39.9 percent of the vote in the former Soviet republic, compared with 32.7 percent for United National Movement, according to a survey by the polling company GfK. A second poll by TNS gave Georgian Dream almost 54 percent to UNM’s 19.5 percent. Preliminary results of Saturday’s ballot will be released through the night. For single-member districts where no candidate captures a majority, a runoff will be held in two weeks. Georgian Dream swept to power in 2012 elections, six months after being formed by reclusive billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili, ending the UNM rule that had started in the 2003 Rose Revolution. Over the past year, the government struggled to contain a currency crisis, which kept voters focused on the economy as it reeled from the impact of the Ukrainian conflict and Russia’s slide into recession. Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili, who ascended to the post less than 10 months ago, is promising to rev up growth in the next decade.