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All Polling Stations Opened, Except One in Shatili

All 3,512 polling stations throughout Georgia, with the exception of one in a high-mountainous region, were open for today’s presidential election and plebiscites, according to the Central Election Commission (CEC).

Heavy snow in Shatili prevented the opening of a small polling station there, with 130 registered voters affected, Levan Tarkhnishvili, the CEC chairman, said at a news conference at 9am local time on January 5, an hour after voting got underway. Tbilisi, the capital, is also under a blanket of snow, with snow continuing to come down.

“So far no major problems have been observed; there were only some minor technical problems, involving brief delays in opening some polling stations; these problems, however, have already been resolved and all polling stations, except the one in Shatili, have been opened,” Tarkhnishvili said. “We are currently doing our best to open the polling station in Shatili as well.”

Despite the death of the chairman of a precinct election commission in Tbilisi this morning – the result of an apparent health problem, according to the CEC – the polling station that was her responsibility, and indeed the location of her death, has opened.
Meanwhile, the opposition Labor Party has already lodged a complaint, alleging that its observers were not allowed into polling stations in the villages of Nul, Avnevi and Dvani, all in the South Ossetian conflict zone.

Apart from ordinary polling stations, there are an additional 73 special ones for military personnel, three of which are in Iraq (one in Baghdad and one in Al Kut) and Kosovo. A number of special polling stations have also been set up at pre-trial detention centers and hospitals.

The CEC said that it expected to be in a position to announce the first official results before midnight.


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