Givi Targamadze, a senior lawmaker from the ruling National Movement Party said on December 10 that he expected presidential candidate Mikheil Saakashvili to get between 60 to 70% of votes in the January 5 election.
“We closely monitor the public mood and are clued into what they think and so we know exactly what the situation is,” Targamadze said.
He was speaking on a new Rustavi 2 TV political talk show hosted by former Imedi journalist Inga Grigolia.
Targamadze criticized the opposition for pre-judging the election, which many of them assume will be rigged. He said they were only concerned with arranging post-election protest rallies. Opposition politicians on the show, however, rejected the criticism, saying they were willing to concede victory to anyone who won in a free and fair election.
MP Mamuka Katsitadze of the New Rights Party (Davit Gamkrelidze is the party's presidential candidate) insisted, however, that “violations are already taking place." "Intimidation, pressure on opposition activists, unfair allocation of broadcast airtime, the misuse of administrative resources and the bribing of voters – these are all taking place," he said.
He did, however, say that such alleged violations didn't necessarily mean the election would be rigged. "If we, along with international observers, manage to curb this illegality ahead of the polls, of course we will say that they were fair. We are not fixated on the idea that the elections will definitely be rigged,” he said.
Tina Khidasheli of the Republican Party (a member of the nine-party opposition coalition backing Levan Gachechiladze for the presidency) accused the government of planting what she called nihilism. “The ruling party accuses the opposition of preparing for January 6 instead of polling day, which is of course not true,” she said. “The authorities will not dare rig the ballot. And this is what we are telling voters at every meeting. We will protect your votes and it will not be possible to rig the elections – this is what we are telling them. We will concede victory to anyone who wins in a free and fair election.”