Thousands of protesters led by major opposition parties are now rallying from the Georgian Parliament towards the Central Election Commission, demanding the resignation of the CEC chair and scheduling snap elections. The opposition leaders say they will be picketing the CEC building until their demands are met.
The opposition’s decision to move to CEC premises came after the ruling Georgian Dream party did not meet the opposition’s ultimatum – on scheduling snap general election, the resignation of CEC chair Tamar Zhvania and setting up new election administrations, as well as the release of “political prisoners” by 20:00.
Nika Melia, leader of the United National Movement party announced at 20:00 that the ruling Georgian Dream party leaders, Speaker Archil Talakvadze and GD’s executive secretary MP Irakli Kobakhidze proposed the opposition to hold negotiations on Monday, November 9. But Melia said the opposition had rejected GD’s proposal, adding that they demand immediate action by the Government.
The key opposition parties – including the UNM, European Georgia, Lelo, Strategy Aghmashenebeli, Labor Party, the Citizens, Democratic Movement – United Georgia, among others, gathered thousands of their supporters outside the Parliament on Rustaveli Avenue, Tbilisi’s main thoroughfare, in the afternoon on November 8, a week after October 31 parliamentary election, to protest “stolen elections.”
Responding to the opposition‘s demands, Vice Speaker Giorgi Kakhiani said in the afternoon: “It is their right to come to organize protests and to make absurd demands.”
Earlier this week, all of the opposition parties that passed a 1% threshold in parliamentary elections, signed a deal, rejecting the election results and refusing to enter the new parliament. The opposition says the Georgian Dream and the CEC rigged the elections, citing widespread imbalances in the final vote tallies, among others.
The opposition did not challenge the fact that the Georgian Dream came first in the polls, rather the key matter at hand is the ability of the Georgian Dream to form the government on its own. Georgian Dream now has 74 mandates guaranteed in the next 150-member parliament, and it needs to win at least two of the 17 planned majoritarian runoffs to secure a simple majority and form the government on its own.
According to the International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED), a key election watchdog, significant discrepancies in summary protocols were detected at 8% of polling stations. ISFED added that these violations could affect the election outcome by a maximum of 4,1%.