Bidzina Ivanishvili addresses supporters outside the Georgian Dream headquarters shortly after the early results of the exit polls were announced following the October 1 parliamentary elections. Photo: Ivanishvili’s press office
Bidzina Ivanishvili, the leader of the Georgian Dream, has claimed that his opposition coalition would gain at least 100 or possibly even more seats in the new 150-member Parliament as a result of the October 1 elections.
“We are winning in all [single-mandate] constituencies, except of Samtskhe-Javakheti [region] and are winning with a large margin. I was saying that we will have at least 50 majoritarian MPs, but now we might even have 60-65 majoritarian [MPs],” he told Channel 9, a television station funded by him.
“Hence, according to the preliminary data, we may gain at least 100 seats, and probably even 110-120 seats in the Parliament,” he said and called on supporters to show patience and wait for the official results from the Central Election Commission (CEC) “with patience.”
After initial exit poll results were released immediately after the polling stations were closed at 8pm, giving Georgian Dream lead over the ruling United National Movement (UNM) party in party-list contest, supporters and activists of the Georgian Dream hit the streets in jubilation.
President Saakashvili acknowledged that his ruling UNM party lost in a party-list, proportional race to the Georgian Dream opposition coalition, but claimed victory in most of the 73 single-mandate majoritarian constituencies. He also said referring to the Georgian Dream: “we should all manage to work together.”
UNM claims victory in at least 53 out of 73 single-mandate constituencies in the provinces, saying that at the expense of winning most of the majoritarian races it will retain majority.
No official results are yet available from the Central Election Commission (CEC), which is expected to start releasing early results after 3am on October 2.
Ivanishvili welcomed Saakashvili’s remarks and said: “The President has made a very good statement.”
“He acknowledged defeat in the part of [proportional] race,” Ivanishvili said, adding that the authorities should now also acknowledge defeat in the majoritarian race too. “I think, they will manage it and at least partially save their face in order to be able to live in their own country; this is what our goal is.”
Addressing supporters outside the Georgian Dream headquarters shortly after the early results of the exit polls were announced, like Saakashvili, Ivanishvili too spoke of the need of cooperation.
“There was violence, there was a lie, there was everything [during the campaign], but today we should manage to unite, to forget any resentment and build united Georgia,” he said and also added: “Those, who committed a violation, those, who committed a criminal offence, will certainly have to answer.”
He called on his supporters to show “calm”.
“It is quite clear that entire Georgia wants to celebrate today… but we should avoid any confrontation. They all are our brothers; those, who marked number ‘5’ [ruling party’s number on ballot papers] are also our brothers; do not harm anybody; do not confront anybody. Let’s stand together and strengthen our country,” he said.
“I have already reduced my emotions; we are preparing for the cooperation and work. A huge work is ahead,” Ivanishvili said. “We will definitely respect our opponents; dissent opinions will never be persecuted in Georgia.”
When during the interview with the Channel 9 he was asked how he would manage to cooperate with President Saakashvili in case of becoming a prime minister, Ivanishvili responded that cooperation with Saakashvili would not represent any problem for him; he said that would be a problem for Saakashvili to cooperate with him.
“I repeat that I am open and ready for cooperation with him,” Ivanishvili said.
He also said that he did not want his coalition to remain as one team in the Parliament.
“The fact that we will split into factions [within the parliament] and there will be at least three factions in the Parliament is a very healthy process,” Ivanishvili said.
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