TBILISI, DFWatch–In parts of Georgia, voters went to the polls again on Sunday in the second round of the parliamentary election. There were runoff contests in 50 single-seat districts, accounting for a third of the seats in the assembly.
Voting took place against a background of some minor and a few serious irregularities.
The outcome of today’s vote will decide if the election winner in the first round, Georgian Dream, will get enough seats to have what’s called a constitutional majority and usher in a ban on same-sex marriage and limit the president’s powers.
The number of precincts open for voting was 2,229. Georgian Young Lawyer’s Association (GYLA), said that by 14:00 their observers had noticed different types of violations. The Tbilisi-based organization filed 33 complaints and 25 notices today.
There is tension in the village Kizilajo in Marneuli, where the results of the first round were abolished due to a riot-like incident. Georgian Dream and National Movement candidate are competing in this region.
One of the observers reported that when a voter came to vote at precinct 50 in Kizilajo, there was a signature next to the person’s surname, but the voter was still allowed to vote. At the same precinct, the head of the local election commission reported that one of the observers wrote number 41 – Georgian Dream’s number on the voting-paper – on the ballot booth and then filmed it. This resulted in a confrontation at the precinct, and the arrival of police to defuse the situation.
Georgian Dream party secretary Irakli Kobakhidze said the UNM plans to disrupt the election and the results at 50th precinct in Kizilajo.
315,009 people had voted by 14:00, a turnout of a mere 13 percent, according to the Central Election Commission (CEC). By 17, the turnout was 31 percent.
As he cast his vote, President Giorgi Margvelashvili called on people to participate in the second round of the election.
“I did my duty. I came and used my right to vote,” he said.
Transparency International Georgia also reported that there were some violations; the organization, which has one of the largest permanent staff among Tbilisi NGOs, observed about 30 various violations. TIG reported that at the 32nd precinct in Tbilisi, the UNM representative became aggressive and as result, the head of the local election commission began shouting. This caused a minor disturbance at the precinct, but the voting process continued normally after that.
The National Movement reported that one of its activists was attacked in the village Sobisi near Gori, at the 45th precinct. Georgian Dream accused UNM of provoking the incident.
ISFED presented a map of Georgia showing at what locations they have observed violations.
CEC said at its 18:00 briefing that they had received 87 complaints, and among them, particularly reports from many parts of the country of people showing up to vote with their fingers already marked.
CEC will hold another briefing at 21:00 and announce the final turnout.