Students at Tbilisi State University held sit-ins in March and April, 2016. (DF Watch.)

TBILISI, DFWatch–Students at Tbilisi State University threaten to resume their sit-ins and blockades after a former deputy education minister Friday became new rector in what they claim was rigged a election.

Gia Sharvashidze was backed by 21 members of TSU’s academic council.

But a spokesperson for the student activist group Auditorium 115 expressed disbelief at the result and implied that council members were pressured by the government to support Sharvashidze.

“Time will show us if there was influence from the government. We have to wait for the development of processes,” Mariam Baghdavadze said.

In March this year, students launched a protest against a candidate for university chancellor because of his background from the student council, a body they accuse of misspending funds and want to have abolished.

The wave of protests and sit-ins paralyzed the country’s most important academic institution for weeks and grew into a movement for wider education reform.

The protests ended with the resignation of Lado Papava as rector in April.

Darejan Tvaltvadze was appointed acting rector and has been serving until now.