TBILISI, DFWatch-Voting went smoothly Sunday in Georgia’s local election. 517,123 people had voted by noon, according to the Central Election Commission (CEC). This is 16 percent of registered voters.
ISFED said 98.7% of precincts were ready to receive voters at 08:00.
There were few reports of violations. A ballot box was smashed in Anaklia near Zugdidi. Relatives of Gogita Abuladze, a person who have been reported missing since January 2012, attacked the 32nd precinct as a sign of protest and organized a rally. Voting was suspended at the precinct.
Strangers broke into number 16th precinct in Martvili at 06:00 in the morning and stole the ballot-papers. The Interior Ministry launched an investigation for burglary. The ballot-papers were later found 200 meters away from the precinct and the election process resumed.
Former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishivli, who is still considered the real decision maker in the new government, said after voting at 61st precinct in Natanebi that Sunday’s election is a continuation of a policy which started after he came into power.
“There is true and not imaginary democracy in Georgia. This process is continuing and this election will be proof for this, like the previous election,” he said, adding that he thinks the local election will be close to European standards, like the 2013 presidential election.
President Giorgi Margvelashvili was the first to vote at 08:00 in the morning at Tbilisi’s sixth precinct at Mtatsminda.
“I call on every politician to make today a victory for democracy, first of all, and then their victory,” he said, congratulating people with Election Day and called on everyone to be active.
Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili came with his family to the 11th precinct in Tbilisi’s Vake district. He said he voted for Georgia’s future, development, stability and a better future for children.
He called on political parties, activists and supporters to avoid provocation and called on law enforcement to timely react to every kind of violation and provocation.
The PM said that if there is a second round of election for Tbilisi mayor, it is not a tragedy.
“I think our political force is the leader in every city, region and village. I think a second round won’t be necessary, but if it is, it won’t be a tragedy.”
The PM also said he is aware of minor errors and said he is sure they will be corrected soon.
Nika Melia, the National Movement candidate, voted at the sixth precinct in Mtatsminda. He told journalists that Tbilisi should have a mayor who will be mayor of every person despite their political views. He said he didn’t vote for confrontation, but for implementation of infrastructure projects, cheaper public transport, and reduced utility fees.
Dimitry Lortkipanidze, candidate for Tbilisi Mayor for Burjanadze’s United Opposition, voted at the 24th precinct in Tbilisi. He said he voted for getting the city in order and for a bright future for children.
Davit Narmania, Georgian Dream candidate for Tbilisi mayor, voted at No 1 precinct in the Saburtalo district with his wife. He said it is a very important day as it is a day of victory.
“I voted for the force which should develop our city and create a better future for our children and every person.”
Patriarch Ilia II, who voted at the fourth precinct in Tbilisi’s Krtsanisi district, said he voted for peace, happiness and the unity of Georgia.
“I think everything will be fine,” he said.
12 mayors, 59 gamgebelis and 2,088 members of local councils will be elected today. There are 14 candidates for mayor in Tbilisi and 918,667 voters are registered in the capital, which will also elect 50 members of the city council.