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Polls Open for Georgia’s Election Runoff

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31 polling stations have opened at 8am today for Georgia’s MP by-elections in Mtatsminda constituency of Tbilisi, according to the Central Election Commission (CEC).

A total of 43,909 voters are eligible to cast their ballots in today’s runoff. They will go to the polls to fill one vacant majoritarian seat in the Parliament.

The parliamentary seat in Mtatsminda became vacant after Salome Zurabishvili, a majoritarian MP, was elected as the President of Georgia.

Two main contenders – Vladimer Kakhadze (Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia) and Shalva Shavgulidze (European Georgia-Free Democrats) – who finished with 41.01% and 36.84%, respectively – are facing each other in the second round.

CEC has registered 5,169 observers from local election monitoring groups and 53 international observers. 1,919 representatives of media outlets will be covering the electoral processes.

CEC will launch vote tabulation at 8pm, after polling stations are closed, and final vote tallies will be uploaded to a special website www.results.cec.gov.ge.

Georgian citizens went to the polls on May 19 to elect five municipality mayors, as well as to fill one vacant majoritarian seat in the Parliament and eight majoritarian seats in municipality councils.

The ruling party candidates won elections in the first round in all districts except for Mtatsminda constituency.

The European Georgia-Free Democrats and the United National Movement (UNM), two largest opposition groups represented in the parliament who endorse Shavgulidze consider it a symbolic opportunity to break the dominance of the ruling Georgian Dream at all levels of governance.

However, other opposition politicians who ran in the first round did not call upon their voters to support Shavgulidze.

For more background information, please refer to our tag on by-elections.

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