The second round of Georgia’s presidential election will be held on Wednesday, November 28, the Central Election Commission (CEC) announced on November 14. The decision was adopted with ten votes at the CEC sitting today.
According to the election administration, a total of 3,705 polling stations will be opened for the runoff, including 55 abroad. Voting at two polling stations for Georgian troops stationed in Afghanistan will be held on November 26.
The CEC also reported that it decided to prolong the voting process at polling stations outside the country until midnight (stations will run from 8am to 8pm in Georgia), “to enable Georgian citizens living abroad to take advantage of their constitutional right.”
The remaining commission members are certified election administrators who are appointed by the Parliament. Selection and appointment of CEC chair has a separate procedure; the incumbent, Tamar Zhvania, has been serving at the post since 2013.
The CEC adopted the decision amid opposition and CSO criticism, who have been calling on the election administration not to set the runoff date on a working day, citing difficulties that Georgian citizens might face in using their voting rights both in Georgia and abroad.
MP Tina Bokuchava of the United National Movement, who was present at the meeting, said the decision to set the runoff date on a working day was pre-arranged with the ruling party to increase the chances of Salome Zurabishvili’s victory in the presidential race.
That runoff elections would be held on November 28 was first suggested by Tbilisi Mayor Kakha Kaladze, who has been actively campaigning for Zurabishvili. Commenting earlier on November 14 the latest survey commissioned by Rustavi 2 TV, which gave lead to UNM-led coalition’s Grigol Vashadze, Kaladze said “the real picture on November 28 will be different.”