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Votes will Be Recounted

Locals’ Results Might Be Modified

For the first time in the Georgian elections’ history votes cast in Tbilisi local elections will be recounted. Central Election Commission (CEC) took this decision yielding to the pressure of the leading political parties. Such a decision was anticipated as the political parties, as well as the observer international and local organizations reported the numerous procedural violations during the local elections on June 2.

All the leading political groups, except the Labor party, which leads the polls, demanded at the Parliamentary session on June 4 and later on during the meeting of the CEC to re-check the results of the elections. Even the pro-Presidential Citizens’ Union of Georgia, which could not clear the 4% vote threshold agreed with the proposal.

During the debates at the Parliamentary session, MPs gave negative evaluation to the June 2 Local Elections. Along with the political parties, both the local and international organizations, which have been monitoring the elections, talk about numerous violations that occurred before and during the locals.

The delegation of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe (CLRAE), which observed the local elections, noted with regret that the hopes for a fair electoral process were dampened by inappropriate preparations and questionable decisions by the authorities.

“The CLRAE delegation is disappointed that the democratic process in Georgia has so far failed to match the people’s aspirations. The people of Georgia deserve better,” said Louis Roppe, leader of the observer delegation, at the news briefing in Tbilisi on June 3.

The elections were also strongly criticized by the local watchdog groups: NGO Coalition “Your Choice – Your Future” and the International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED).

President Shevardnadze seems to be the only one happy with the elections. “Personally I am quite satisfied with the level the elections were organized at” – he said at June 4 briefing.

President stated that the CEC is to be blamed for all the errors that happened during the elections. Shevardnadze rejected accusations by the National Movement, Zhvania’s Team and other groups, that the government did everything to prevent the elections from taking place.

“If the government falsified the votes, then the results would have been totally different” – Shevardnadze said, reinforcing own words by the fact that the governmental party “Citizens Union” failed to even clear the 4% threshold and secure seats in Tbilisi Sakrebulo.

Recounts of the votes are expected to correct mostly minor violations in vote counting at the district level, but most analysts say that the final results of the elections would be affected only marginally. It would also be the case, as the law provides for posting the final results of the elections during 4 days after the local elections are held, thus CEC has little more than one day to finalize the recounts and announce final results.

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