PM Calls for High Voter Turnout for 'Convincing Victory'
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 14 Jun.'14 / 18:22

Addressing ruling Georgian Dream coalition’s closing campaign rally in Tbilisi on June 13 PM Irakli Garibashvili has urged supporters to vote in large numbers in Sunday’s municipal elections to win a “convincing victory”.

Garibashvili told supporters at the outdoor rally late on Friday evening: “We will definitely win convincingly – no one doubts about it. But today I want to call you once again to serve our civic duty and to go to elections.”

“We have no right not to go to elections, we have no right to relax and stay indifferent and passive, hoping that the Georgian Dream will anyway win. Of course we will win, but we want you to be part of this victory; that’s why it is important for each and every of you to go to the elections and to vote for the victory of our country. Like two years ago [during the parliamentary elections], now again each vote is decisive for a final victory… I once again call on you to go to elections, not to stay at home, hoping that our political force will anyway win without your vote… Go to elections in order not to ever give creators of violent regime [referring to former ruling and now opposition party UNM] the right to again deceive people and the country; go to elections in order to eventually wash down the shame of that regime and to start a new life,” Garibashvili said.

He also said that the June 15 elections are “yet another test” for Georgia and called on “everyone – political parties, their supporters – not to allow violence or any action that may damage electoral process and taint country’s image.”

In a written statement about the Sunday’s elections, released on June 14, PM Garibashvili called on the law enforcement agencies to “secure order everywhere for the purpose of holding the elections in calm conditions” and to “immediately eradicate any provocation and illegal action, which may cast shadow on the electoral process.”
UNM also held its closing campaign rally in Tbilisi on June 13. Addressing indoor gathering of supporters and activists Gigi Ugulava, one of UNM’s leaders and its campaign chief, said the party plans “to win in many municipalities and cities.”

Ugulava said that defeat in the October 1, 2012 parliamentary elections was like “a car accident” for UNM after which “we were admitted to hospital, where a doctor was putting poison on our wounds.”

“But what doesn't kill you makes you stronger and in [2013] presidential election we showed a miracle” as UNM became the first political party in Georgia, which has not vanished after losing power, Ugulava said.

“In these upcoming elections we are being discharged from hospital in good health and invigorated and we are fighting for victory and only for the victory,” he added.

Addressing supporters, UNM’s mayoral candidate Nika Melia said: “I can feel the growing power and energy coming from you and I am sure that we will turn this power into victory on June 15.”
“Instead of progress we are seeing backsliding and it is a matter of dignity to respond it with dignity on June 15,” Melia said.

He also said that if GD’s Davit Narmania is elected as Tbilisi mayor he will be accountable before ex-PM Bidzina Ivanishvili, who selected him as a candidate, and not before the voters.

Speaking at a news conference in Tbilisi on June 14, Nino Burjanadze, who leads a coalition of several non-parliamentary opposition parties, Burjanadze-United Opposition, also called for a high voter turnout in order “to put an end to cohabitation of Georgian Dream and the National Movement.” Burjanadze, who herself is not running for any post in the June 15 elections, has been campaigning actively for her coalition and its candidates, criticizing both GD and UNM.

“It is surprising that UNM even dares to run in these elections, but this is because of Georgian Dram, which has reanimated the United National Movement,” she said on June 14, adding that the victory for her coalition will lead to “restoration of justice” and launch of a campaign for holding early parliamentary elections.

“We know that we are winning elections in absolute majority of municipalities and self-governed cities or in the worst case scenario going into second round,” Burjanadze said.

“I do not see any chance of Georgian Dream winning Tbilisi [mayoral race] in the first round,” she said, adding that in “the worst case” there will be a second round between her coalition’s candidate Dimitri Lortkipanidze and GD’s Davit Narmania.

She said that the voters should not make the same mistake they did in the presidential elections when “for the sake of other person” – referring to ex-PM Bidzina Ivanishvili, voters cast their ballots for GD’s presidential candidate Giorgi Margvelashvili and “now we see that the country actually has no president.”

In the October, 2013 presidential elections, Burjanadze garnered 10.19% of votes and was third in the race after GD and UNM’s candidates, who received 62.12% and 21.72%, respectively.

Voters will head to the polls on Sunday to elect mayors in 12 cities, heads (gamgebeli) of 59 municipalities and 71 new local councils, Sakrebulos, for a term of three years and four months.
Total of 16,190 candidates participate in the elections, according to the Central Election Commission; the figure includes candidates in party-list and majoritarian contests for seats in Sakrebulos, as well as candidates running for gamgebeli posts in municipalities and mayoral offices of 12 cities.

Georgia’s two largest private television channels, Rustavi 2 and Imedi, plan separate exit polls. Rustavi 2 TV commissioned exit polls to GfK and Imedi TV hired Tbilisi-based ACT polling firm.

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