Georgia opposition calls for protests as ruling party claims vote win
Georgia’s opposition has called for mass protests after the former Soviet republic’s ruling party declared victory in a highly contested parliamentary election.
On Sunday, former Western-backed president and opposition leader Mikheil Saakashvili – who lives in exile in Ukraine –accused the ruling Georgian Dream party of “massively falsifying the election results”, calling on supporters to take to the streets “to defend votes”.
According to Press TV, his remarks came after the ruling party, founded by Georgia’s richest man, Bidzina Ivanishvili, said his party "has won elections for the third time in a row”.
"Georgians have elected a great team," he said.
Early on Sunday, Georgia’s Central Election Commission (CEC) said that Georgian Dream garnered 50.58% of the vote after some 44 percent of the votes had been counted.
The ruling party declared victory soon after the initial results were released, but it was unclear whether the governing party would secure the votes needed to form a single-party government.
The commission also announced that the country’s largest opposition party — United National Movement (UNM) — only had 24.92% of the votes, with several other opposition parties having managed to clear the 1% threshold for membership in parliament.
The opposition claimed that the results failed to correspond with reality and called on supporters to gather in central Tiblisi to protest the vote.
The objection to the vote by the UNM leaders prompted Georgian police to deploy security forces in the area around the election commission’s building.