Rivals of the ruling party have accused it of fraud after officials announced that the Georgian Dream party had won 19 of the 20 municipal elections in runoff votes on Saturday. The party has also taken the mayoral offices in the main Georgian cities including its capital Tbilisi.
The protests were organized by the leader of the main opposition party United National Movement and candidate for Tbilisi’s mayor position Nika Melia. The opposition is also encouraged by former President Mikhail Saakashvili who earlier returned to Georgia and was arrested shortly after his comeback over power abuse.
“Citizens demonstrate that they don’t want to live in this single-party authoritarian house. The Georgian people will defend democracy,” the organizers said.
Melia has announced that massive rallies will be also held on November 7 and urged the Georgians to join the movement.
International observers say that the voting was held with respect to the rules and that no fraud was reported. Despite some procedural issues, no violations were recorded and the elections are likely to be declared valid.
“The persistent practice of representatives of observer organizations acting as party supporters, at times interfering with the process, and groups of individuals potentially influencing voters outside some polling stations were of concern,” the OSCE representatives revealed.