The opposition does not want to recognize the victory of the ruling Georgian Dream party. Supporters and members protested in Tbilisi over the issue.
An opposition supporter waves a flag in front of the parliament in Tbilisi Photo: dpa
The official election victory of the ruling party in Georgia sparked protests on Sunday. The Georgian Dream party won with 48.1 percent after counting more than 99 percent of all votes, according to the election commission. The largest opposition alliance, United National Movement, came in second with 27.1 percent after Saturday’s vote. Several other opposition parties passed the one-percent threshold and will also gain seats in parliament. However, opposition members rejected the results as fraudulent and called for protests.
Opposition supporters and party members then marched through the streets in the capital, Tbilisi, saying they would hold mass rallies until the result was declared invalid. The demonstrators blocked a main thoroughfare. Members of various opposition parties were seen united at the protest.
Meanwhile, Georgian Dream announced it had won enough seats in the 150-member parliament to form a government. The party nominated current Prime Minister Giorgi Gacharia to retain the post of head of government.
"We demand new elections," said the head of the United National Movement, Nika Melia. He added that they will continue to fight until the situation changes and "the will of the people prevails." New elections are the consensus among the opposition, European Georgia party leader Giga Bokeria also said. The party received 3.8 percent of the vote. "The demand is that these elections must not reflect the government of Georgia for the next four years," he told the AP news agency.
Opposition threatens boycott in parliament
Tina Bokuchawa of the United National Movement threatened a boycott in parliament. She told the 1Tv television station, "If the government refuses to hold new elections, the opposition must refuse to participate in parliamentary life because this parliament will be occupied by rigged elections instead of by the expression of the free will of the Georgian people."
The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe said the election generally respected fundamental freedoms. However, widespread allegations of pressure on voters and blurring of the line between the ruling party and the state had caused public confidence in the electoral process to decline.