Georgian Dream Cautiously Claims Victory

Georgian Dream leaders have gathered outside the party’s headquarters in downtown Tbilisi to celebrate victory in “all municipalities,” after polls closed at 20:00 in the second round of local elections.

The event, wrapped up in some five minutes, came shortly after the pro-GD Imedi TV/Gorbi exit poll showed the party’s Tbilisi mayoral hopeful Kakha Kaladze winning with 57% and other candidates narrowly leading in other largest cities of Batumi, Kutaisi, Rustavi.

Another exit poll, commissioned by Mtavari Arkhi TV, a government-critical channel, has put opposition United National Movement candidates narrowly winning in Tbilisi, Kutaisi, Batumi, Rustavi and Zugdidi races. Imedi TV poll also showed battles in Kutaisi, Batumi and Rustavi too close to call, falling within the margin of error.

“I would like to congratulate all of you for concluding the second round with victory,” Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili addressed supporters, “now we must calmly wait for final data to be announced.”

In his brief remarks, GD party chair Irakli Kobakhidze thanked the public for supporting “our political power once again.” “Today we saw this victory through,” he maintained.

Mayoral candidate Kakha Kaladze said he was “happy” that Georgian Dream clinched a “dignified” victory in the second round.

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