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PM: 'Second Round Runoffs Good for Democracy'
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 16 Jun.'14 / 20:59

There is “no tragedy” that second round runoffs will be held in mayoral and gamgebeli races in number of cities and municipalities where GD ruling coalition’s candidates failed to win a clear majority in the June 15 municipal elections, PM Irakli Garibashvili said on Monday.

“On the contrary, this is very good for our democracy, our country and our people. This is a unique opportunity to further consolidate Georgian democracy,” Garibashvili, who is the leader of GD ruling coalition, said at a news conference.

He hailed the June 15 municipal elections as “revolutionary.”

“Yesterday it was really a historical day for our country,” the PM said. “I want to say proudly that for the first time in the history of our country’s independence we have all witnessed really democratic, free and fair local elections.”

“Ballots of all voters were protected; election administrations worked independently and the authorities did not interfere in their activities,” he said.

He congratulated supporters “on the victory in these elections.”

“We are leading in all districts, all cities and all villages and we have proved that Georgian Dream is the only political force, which has no alternative and which can rule the country democratically,” Garibashvili said.

He said that the government was “realizing” that runoffs in several municipalities were possible after agreeing to introduce 50% mark as a minimum threshold for electing mayors and gamgebelis in the first round.
“But we purposefully agreed on this experiment, because our key task was to get people accustomed to democratic elections and to enable people to elect their desired candidates,” the PM said.     

He also said that although the second round causes additional expenses, “we can yield more benefits by allowing this precedent” that “will bring huge benefits to strengthening our country and its democratic consolidation.”

Apparently alluding to low voter turnout in the June 15 municipal elections, Garibashvili expressed hope that voters’ “motivation” will increase during the second round runoffs.

He said he’s sure that GD’s Tbilisi mayoral candidate Davit Narmania will win a runoff against UNM’s Nika Melia and become Tbilisi mayor. “It is a matter of time,” Garibashvili said.

“Our government will enter into Georgia’s modern history as the first government, which established tradition of free and fair elections. This is a victory for the entire country,” the PM said.

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