In Quotes: Opposition Reacts to Exit Polls

Many of the opposition leaders declared victory over the Georgian dream, especially in the capital city of Tbilisi, but highlighted the need to protect the votes of Georgian citizens during the counting of ballots.

Nika Melia, United National Movement’s Tbilisi Mayoral candidate: “Today we can frankly say that the Georgian Dream has completely lost the capital. The political center, the capital – Tbilisi has been lost. We can already say opposition parties will be represented in the Sakrebulo, the [Sakrebulo] majority has to be established by opposition parties. With regards to mayoral elections, of course, the run-off will be held… Now the single most important thing is to protect each vote for the next two hours so that we do not let the Georgian Dream manipulate [the vote count]. And not only in Tbilisi. We do not know results across the country. Thousands of observers, party representatives, and commission members in every town and village are fighting for the future of this country and they need encouragement, they need support.”

Ana Buchukuri, For Georgia: “For our team and our party, exit polls are the least convincing for a very simple reason, which I am sure the public knows and you know: Our supporters have been subjected to an unprecedented systemic pressure and intimidation for months. People are reluctant to even take pictures, so, naturally, they would not voice their choice [with pollsters]. This is the main reason and the second [one]: different political parties are used to employing results of the exit polls for their political interests. We will wait for the official results from the CEC.”

Zurab Japaridze, Girchi – More Freedom: “I do not believe that the elections were held in a free and competitive environment. Things happening in the pre-election period, things happening during the day, clearly indicate that the elections were rigged massively. And there are many facts to prove it, including [facts of] violence, intimidation, bribery. Now it is important to protect all votes till the morning so that nothing else is fixed to falsify the results. Moreover, I suspect that in the exit polls themselves, as far as I have seen, people in the regions were afraid to indicate their real choice, and so I suspect the [real] results might favor the opposition even more.”

Mamuka Khazaradze, Lelo: “Georgian Dream lost in Tbilisi, which means opposition achieved its goal – changes are underway in Tbilisi. … The [local] elections give us new fully-proportional [parliamentary] elections next year. … The elections are not over yet, now the vote count begins, and it should be done at such a level that we do not lose any votes. We must protect each vote.”

Gigi Tsereteli, European Georgia: “The main result today is that the opposition, overall, defeated the government by a significant margin. This result needs to be preserved to implement the changes this country needs to be lifted to its feet.  We all know that violations and manipulations occur during the counting process. We have to fight so that no vote is lost.”

This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)


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