With almost two million votes tallied, the results of the October 31 parliamentary election show the ruling Georgian Dream (GD) with 48.23%. This is the first time the ruling party lays its claim on governing the country for the third consecutive term since the country regained its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. The runners up, according to CEC results, are the Strength in Unity election bloc, led by the United National Movement (UNM), trailing GD with 27.13%. The CEC results are highly contested, with all opposition parties by now refusing to enter the parliament, citing voter intimidation, bribery, and election-day irregularities.
Still, the preliminary data give some grounds to look at the electoral winners and losers of this campaign.
The Georgian Dream
On October 31, GD received 927,196 votes. This is a notable increase compared to the 2016 parliamentary elections, when the party got 856,638 votes (48.68%), but a far cry from the landslide of 2012, when the party scored 1,184,612 votes (54.97%).
The ruling party did not formally nominate its candidate in 2018 presidential elections, but endorsed Salome Zurabishvili, nominally an independent candidate. Zurabishvili failed to win outright in the first round, gaining 615,572 votes (38.64%), barely outstripping the UNM candidate. In the runoffs, when the ruling party threw its whole weight behind Zurabishvili, to the extent of replacing her with GD patron Bidzina Ivanishvili on the campaign posters, she garnered 1,147,701 votes (59.52%).
The United National Movement
According to CEC, the UNM-led election bloc came second with 522,127 votes (27.13%) on October 31. This is a noticeable bump since the 2016 parliamentary polls when the party won just 477,053 votes (27.11%). The last time UNM was the ruling party (and lost) in 2012, it got 873,233 votes (40.34%). Although the stakes in presidential polls are not comparable, UNM’s Grigol Vashadze got 601,224 votes (37.74%) in the first round of 2018 Presidential Polls.
The European Georgia, which split off from UNM in January 2017, and brought together some of the former UNM leaders. They are arguably the biggest losers of the October 31 polls. In a dramatic decline of supporters, the party garnered the support of a mere 72,790 votes (3.78%) a pale figure compared to 2017 local elections when it got 156,232 votes (10,4%).
EG suffered a particularly significant setback in its stronghold, the capital city Tbilisi, where it won 17,309 votes, ending up as the 6th opposition party. In the 2017 municipal vote, EG was the third-largest party in the capital city, obtaining 35,586 (9.18%).
EG scored its best electoral result in the 2018 Presidentials, when its presidential hopeful, Davit Bakradze came third with 10.97% – 174,849 votes.
Strategy Aghmashenebeli / New Georgia
Strategy Aghmashenebeli platform, led by Giorgi Vashadze’s New Georgia party, scored on October 31, 60,634 votes amounting to 3.15%, which makes a threefold rise compared to New Georgia’s 18,426 votes / 1.23% in 2017 municipal vote. While its major gains were recorded in the regions, Vashadze’s team succeeded in Tbilisi too, gaining 21,671 votes on October 31, a notable improvement compared to 13,350 in 2017 municipal elections.
Alliance of Patriots
The Alliance of Patriots, nativist outfit with pro-Russian sympathies, has entered the 2016 parliament with 88,097 votes (5.01%). It has also suffered a major setback on October 31, attracting sympathies of 60,519 voters (3.14%). The decline is even sharper in comparison with 2017 municipal elections, when the party to 98,530 votes.
A libertarian Girchi party, established in 2015, took part in the 2016 Parliamentary Elections as a part of Paata Burchuladze’s State for the People, which won 60,681 votes (3.45%) in total. In the 2018 Presidentials, Zurab Japaridze, the party leader, won 36,034 votes, amounting to 2.26% of votes in those elections. The 2020 election brought notable gains to the party, swelling its supporter base to 55,625 votes amounting to 2.89%. Most importantly, Girchi came surprising third in Tbilisi, with 34,899 votes, outperforming all the opposition parties except the UNM.
Elisashvili – The Citizens
The Citizens, founded by Aleko Elisashvili in 2020, scored 1.33% with 25,535 in October 31 election. The result is far worse than independent Elisashvili’s 2017 Tbilisi mayoral race sensation of 17.48% with 69,803 votes when Tbilisi preservationist activist came second to Georgian Dream’s Kakha Kaladze.
The Labor Party
The Georgian Labor Party, one of the oldest parties among participants, garnered 55,208 votes (3.14%) in the previous 2016 Parliamentary Elections, significantly more than on October 31, when the party barely crossed the 1% threshold with 19,283 votes. In the 2018 Presidential Elections, Shalva Natelashvili, the leader of the party, came fourth with 59,651 votes improving on 2013 Presidentials – 46,984 votes.
United Georgia – Democratic Movement
With 16,322 votes, amounting to 0.85%, which falls short of 1% threshold, United Georgia – Democratic Movement, led by ex-Speaker Nino Burjanadze, showed its worst electoral result in years. In the 2016 Parliamentary vote, Democratic Movement got 62,166 votes (3.53%), while in the 2013 Presidentials Burjanadze came third with 166,061 votes, amounting to 10.19%.