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Vote Count Underway in Second Round of Local Elections
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 12 Jul.'14 / 20:58

Polls have closed and votes are being counted at polling stations where second round of municipal elections were held on July 12.

Preliminary results are expected before midnight, according to the Central Election Commission (CEC).

Mayoral offices in 8 cities, including in Tbilisi, and posts of gamgebeli (head of municipality) in 13 municipalities were for grabs in the July 12 runoffs.

Chairperson of CEC, Tamar Zhvania, said after the polling stations were closed that voting process was held without any major violations.

Voter turnout was 36% in those 1,525 polling stations where second rounds were held. Voter turnout stood at 43.3% in the first round on June 15.

34.3% of voters turned out in Tbilisi in the second round of mayoral race, down from 37,3% in the first round on June 15.

In a televised statement shortly after polling stations were closed at 8pm local time, PM and leader of ruling GD coalition, Irakli Garibashvili, said runoffs were held “successfully” and “in a calm atmosphere” where “all the voters were given possibilities to make their choices freely.”

“It does not matter who have won in the today’s elections. I can assure you that our country has won,” he said.

“I want to reiterate that today we have confirmed that we are establishing the practice of democratic, fair and transparent elections in Georgia. I want to thank everyone, who participated in the elections. My special thanks to the Central Election Commission, its management, entire election administration, representatives of election districts and polling stations,” Garibashvili said.

“We will have preliminary results in several hours. I am sure that Georgian Dream will gain a victory in the second round runoffs too, but I want to stress again that by this victory, by successful holding of local elections our country has won a victory,” he added.

Giga Bokeria, one of the leaders of the opposition UNM party, said after the polls were closed that the pre-election period was “neither democratic, nor free and fair” and represented yet another “step backwards” for the country, which, he said was further aggravated by the detention of UNM’s campaign manager and ex-mayor of Tbilisi Gigi Ugulava.

“Electoral process is not yet over – vote count is now very crucial. We will defend each and every vote,” Bokeria told Imedi TV. 
 
Few incidents were reported outside several polling stations during the runoffs. Two UNM activists were detained in one of the incidents in Tbilisi; one of them was later released and another one reportadly remains in detention. UNM accused police of bias against its activists and GD accused the opposition party of trying to stir tensions outside the polling stations.

Total of 1,715,514 voters are registered in those eight cities and thirteen municipalities, where runoffs were held.

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