At a session late on Thursday night the Central Election Commission (CEC) has set July 12 as the date for second round runoffs of the local elections.
Second round of elections will be held in mayoral races in capital city Tbilisi and seven other self-governed cities: Batumi, Rustavi, Telavi, Gori, Mtskheta, Ozurgeti and Poti.
Runoffs will also be held in races for gamgebeli (municipal executive) in 13 municipalities: Kvareli; Telavi; Tianeti; Akhmeta; Terjola; Khoni; Tkibuli; Martvili; Kobuleti; Bagdati; Gori; Lanchkhuti and Khulo.
UNM member of CEC wanted later date for second round runoffs to give candidates more time for campaigning. CEC chairperson Tamar Zhvania offered July 16 as the date of second round, but July 12 was endorsed by CEC with 7 votes to 5 – all six GD-nominated members of CEC supported July 12 as the date of runoffs, plus secretary of CEC Gizo Mchedlidze.
Race for capital city’s mayor went into second round after Georgian Dream ruling coalition’s Tbilisi mayoral candidate Davit Narmania garnered 46.09% of votes in the June 15 local elections – four percentage points short of 50% threshold needed for outright victory.
Narmania will face UNM opposition party’s Nika Melia, who was a runner-up candidate with 27.97% of votes, in the second round on July 12.
In all eight cities, where runoffs are set, GD candidates received more votes than others (but less than 50%); in four cities UNM candidates were runners-up and in four other cities candidates named by some other parties made it into the second round.
In the Black Sea resort town of Batumi in Adjara Autonomous Republic, GD’s Giorgi Ermakov, who received has 45.24% of votes, will face UNM’s Giorgi Diasamidze, who garnered 17.54%, in the second round.
In Rustavi GD’s Davit Jikia, who received 40.49%, and UNM’s Mamuka Chikovani, who garnered 29.23%, will be contesting in the second round on July 12.
In Telavi, the main town of Kakheti region in eastern Georgia, GD’s Platon Kalmakhelidze (43.18%) will face UNM’s Alexi Dzuliashvili (22.26%).
In the port town of Poti in Samegrelo region, GD’s mayoral candidate Irakli Kakulia (45.68%) will face a candidate from Alliance of Patriots of Georgia Ushangi Gegenava (21.14%), who was in a tight race for a runner-up position with UNM candidate, who garnered 19.08% in the first round on June 15.
The town of Gori in Shida Kartli region is one of those four cities, where UNM candidates are failing to make it to the second round runoffs. In Gori GD’s Zurab Jirkvelishvili (40.38%) will face Kakhaber Ergemlidze (29.27%), a mayoral candidate nominated by ex-defense minister Irakli Okruashvili’s Georgian Party. Okruashvili himself wanted to run for Gori mayor’s office, but had to name his ally after he was barred from participation on the grounds of residency requirement.
In the small town of Mtskheta, where the mayoral race was tight especially for a runner-up position, GD’s Avtandil Nemsitsveridze (33.64%) will face Davit Machkhaneli (25.6%), a candidate nominated by the Green Party of Georgia, in the second round on July 12.
In the town of Ozurgeti in Guria region, runoff race will be held between GD’s Beglar Sioridze (33.87%) and Shota Gogiberidze (21.99%) from the Alliance of Patriots of Georgia.
Second round runoffs for gamgebeli (head of municipality) post will also be held on July 12 in 13 municipalities.
GD gamgebeli candidates received more votes than other candidates in all those 13 municipalities where runoffs are set.
UNM candidates are runners-up in five municipalities, including in Khoni where the opposition party’s candidate is in a pre-trial detention since February.
Candidates nominated by Nino Burjanadze-led United Opposition coalition are runners-up in four municipalities.
Alliance of Patriots of Georgia has runner-up candidates in two municipalities; Georgia’s Way, party founded by ex-foreign minister Salome Zourabichvili, and ex-defense minister Irakli Okruashvili’s Georgian Party have runner-up gamgebeli candidates in each of the two remaining municipalities.
Runoffs are held in following 13 municipalities:
- Kvareli – between GD’s Ilia Mzekalashvili (48.68%) and UNM’s Khatia Dekanoidze (24.15%), who is a former rector of police academy;
- Telavi – GD’s Alexandre Shatirishvili 49.88% and UNM’s Giorgi Botkoveli (26.88%);
- Terjola – GD’s Teimuraz Japaridze (46.89%) and UNM’s Tariel Panchulidze (36.74%);
- Khoni – GD’s Jemal Mebuke (46.73%) and UNM’s Zurab Jibukhaia (42.02%), a former gamgebeli of Khoni, who is in pre-trial detention since February;
- Kobuleti – GD’s Sulkhan Evgenidze (45.85%) and UNM’s Revaz Kharazi (23.67%);
- Tianeti – GD’s Lela Kitesashvili (47.37%) and Burjanadze-led coalition’s Ilia Archemashvili (29.93%);
- Akhmeta – GD’s Beka Baidauri (42.75%) and Burjanadze-led coalition’s Zurab Pilashvili (27.89%);
- Tkibuli – GD’s Robizon Gvenetadze (43.95%) and Burjanadze-led coalition’s Tengiz Chikaberidze (32.98%);
- Martvili – GD’s Alexandre Grigalava (45.1%) and Burjanadze-led coalition’s Davit Injia (25.95%);
- Lanchkhuti – GD’s Zaza Urushadze (44.41%) and Alliance of Patriots’ Barna Chkonia (37.05%);
- Khulo – GD’s Besik Bauchadze (49.71%) and Alliance of Patriots’ Emzar Bolkvadze (31.54%);
- Gori – GD’s Davit Oniashvili (46.83%) and candidate from Okruashvili’s Georgian Party Bondo Vatiashvili (26.88%);
- Bagdati – GD’s Irakli Gegeshidze (45.12%) and a candidate from Georgia’s Way Mevlud Kiknavelidze (36.04%);