After opting against boycotting the parliament and second round contests for majoritarian MP seats in the single-mandate constituencies, UNM opposition party is getting back on campaign trail with key message to voters not to let the ruling GDDG party win constitutional majority in the new parliament.
“There is a threat that the Georgian Dream may gain completely unchecked constitutional majority. Therefore we ask you to go to the second round of elections… and support a candidate other [than the one from the Georgian Dream],” message on the party’s Facebook page reads.
Along with some other leaders of the party, MP Davit Bakradze, who is number one on UNM’s party list of MP candidates and is slated to be re-elected in the new parliament, is touring regions, and meeting UNM activists to on the one hand explain the party’s decision in favor of entering the Parliament and on the other to encourage them ahead of the second round runoffs.
After several days of internal party discussions, UNM’s main governing body, political council, voted in favor of entering the parliament on October 11; UNM has claimed that the October 8 parliamentary elections were neither free nor fair.
Of 49 members of the 60-seat political council, who were present at the meeting, 33 voted in favor of entering the parliament; 9 were against and 7 abstained.
Among those who voted against entering the parliament and against contesting in the second rounds – an option, which was also backed by ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili, were Levan Varshalomidze; Akaki Minashvili; Nugzar Tsiklauri; Koba Khabazi; Zurab Melikishvili; Vakhtang Lemonjava; Omar Megrelidze; Giorgi Karbelashvili, and Kakha Butskhrikidze.
“In a political struggle, Parliament is a very important tool,” MP Bakradze told UNM activists at one of the meetings in Kakheti region.
“I call on everyone, who do not want establishment of one-party regime in this country, who do not want one man to control everyone and everything, to turn out at the polling stations in the second round and vote for the UNM candidates and, by doing so, defend the Georgian democracy,” Davit Bakradze said.
“We are not exhausted,” said Zurab Tchiaberashvili, UNM’s majoritarian MP candidate in Kakheti region’s Sagarejo single-mandate constituency, where he will face GDDG’s candidate in the second round runoff.
“We will continue struggle in the second round contests with strong determination in order not to let Ivanishvili to completely usurp power and to gain constitutional majority. We understand very well that it is an uphill struggle against the force, which applies all the means, including violence,” Tchiaberashvili said.
Second round runoffs for majoritarian MP seats are expected in at least 48 single-mandate constituencies; the number may increase to 50, depending on outcome of possible repeat elections in several precincts of Zugdidi and Marneuli districts.
UNM candidates will be contesting in the second rounds in at least 43 or possibly 45 districts.
In party-list, proportional representation vote, UNM received 27.11% of votes, according to preliminary results, which will translate into 27 seats out of total 77, which were up for grabs under the proportional, party-list vote.
On top of the 44 seats, which the ruling GDDG party, is expected to take in the Parliament under the proportional representation, its candidates are winning outright in majoritarian MP races in 23 single-mandate constituencies, according to preliminary results.
It means that the ruling party already has 67 seats in the new Parliament – 9 short of majority and 46 short of three-fourths super-majority in the 150-member Parliament – 113 seats, which is required to pass constitutional amendments.