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March 04, 2021, 12:52:40 AM

  Talk Elections
  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion
  International Elections (Moderators: Gustaf, afleitch, Hash)
  Georgian parliamentary election (31 October 2020): Let the protests begin
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Poll
Question: Who would you support in a snap election?
#1
GD (government, catch-all, pro EU/NATO)
 
#2
UNM (major opposition, lib. cons., pro EU/NATO)
 
#3
EG (lib. conservative, pro EU/NATO)
 
#4
Girchi (libertarian, pro EU/NATO)
 
#5
APG (national conservative, pro Russia)
 
#6
Labor (conservative socialist, pro EU/NATO)
 
#7
Strategy (moderate, pro EU/NATO)
 
#8
Citizens (centrist, pro EU/NATO)
 
#9
Other
 
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Partisan results

Total Voters: 9

Author Topic: Georgian parliamentary election (31 October 2020): Let the protests begin  (Read 2833 times)
Astatine ☢️
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« Reply #25 on: November 01, 2020, 08:55:11 PM »

Saakashvili claimed that there were massive irregularities in several precincts (proven by a shaky video?). I was firstly really skeptical of that, since Saakashvili is really delusional, but after talkling to Georgian Facebook friends with different political leanings, it seemed that some results are questionable.

In many precincts, the results issued by the electoral commission simply don't add up, both for proportional and FPTP vote. Hundreds of those result certificates were uploaded to Facebook where basic maths is being ignored, and apparently, this to benefit of GD. As far as I understood, this was crucial in at least one district, where a 2000 vote majority of a GD candidate seemed to appear out of nowhere and therefore a runoff was avoided. Plus, DMUG only failed the threshold by a few hundred votes, which - considering the numerous irregularities - could cost another party a seat.

Interestingly, the server of the election commission, where all certificates can be seen, is down right now.
While I don't buy Saakashvili's initial claims of an opposition victory (he claimed that exit polls were rigged and results rigged, one exit poll showed GD at 41 %, others above 50, so this is a ridiculous claim), the irregularities seem suspicious at least and considering how narrow GD's majority is (as of now 77/150 seats of which are 62 proportional and 15 FPTP), it is something to watch on.

I am not sure about this, but it was said in some Facebook posts that local election commissions are usually made up of both government and opposition party affiliates, but that results can be overruled by a majority. As this is anecdotal information, I would put a question mark behind that, but this just creating more suspicion.

So yeah, next week will be full of protests.

I wonder whether they will escalate if the GD government forbids them due to Covid.
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Astatine ☢️
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« Reply #26 on: November 02, 2020, 04:13:51 PM »

The situation is getting more tense. All opposition have announced they'd boycott their seats and not take them.

Meanwhile, PM Gakha Gakaria (who is not that important since Ivanishvili is the guy in charge) has been tested positive for Covid.
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Astatine ☢️
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« Reply #27 on: November 26, 2020, 04:30:38 PM »

The runoff on Saturday ended up with the GD sweeping all seats, ascending to a total count of 90 deputies. The opposition boycotted the elections as expected, and turnout dropped from 56 to 26 percent.

Anyways, the country is stuck in a gridlock as of now. Opposition party leaders met the US and EU ambassadors, stating they will not work constructively in Parliament unless snap elections are called for 2021. Calls by other diplomats such as the German ambassador who urged the opposition parties to take their seats were dismissed and criticized, accusing them to be siding with GD.

Meanwhile, protests have been going, partially also violating newly imposed Covid restrictions, deepening the division between both sides.

The current situation is nearly impossible to solve unless GD approves of snap elections. It is questionable whether they might not accelerate polarization, as the campaigns will likely be extremely nasty. And who knows whether riggery might be claimed again?

Anyways, in the case of Georgia, you can really make an argument for both sides - GD and UNM+their satellite parties - being equally responsible for the current situation. UNM corruption and increasing authoritarianism in their governmental time wounded the Georgian society, with GD's numerous attempts for power grabbing such as removing any checks and balances from the presidential office are not helpful by any means.

Sad to see such a beautiful country being stuck with such conflicts. I doubt that the wounds of division will heal unless both Saakashvili as well as Ivanishvili combined with their respective close allies leave the political stage.
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Astatine ☢️
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« Reply #28 on: December 15, 2020, 09:38:07 AM »

An update on the most recent developments, as the chaos is getting worse:

The Parliament convened last week, with only GD members being present. President Salome Zurabishvili has condemned the opposition parties for their refusal to take their seats. A bloc of 5 opposition parties (UNM, EG, Lelo, Strategy and Labour) requested the annulation of their lists, meaning that in case of a resignation of an MP, the seat would remain unseated. APG, Girchi, Citizens and Republicans - they apparently gained 2 seats over the UNM list, didn't know they formed an electoral alliance - did exclude themselves from the memorandum, but won't take their seats either.
Girchi's refusal to join the memorandum has led to some intra-party turmoils.
The Election Commission granted their request today, resulting in a Parliament that will definitely have no major opposition. It will likely reconfirm Ivanishvili handpicked PM Gara Gakharia in short time.

The accusations of voter fraud are being investigated. GD officials stated that if the investigation shows that at least 1 % of the votes were rigged, snap elections would be called.

The Supreme Council of the Autonomous Region of Adjara has convened as well, and the opposition boycotts it too.

Meanwhile, UNM is in a state of complete disarray. Saakashvili disappeared from the political stage shortly after the elections, but the mess his involvement has created remains.
Grigol Vashadze, who has led the UNM since 2017 and was their presidential candidate in 2018, has announced today that he will leave his party. He attacked UNM for disrespecting diplomats who tried to negotiate between the parties and has been under pressure for some time now as he preferred UNM to take their seats in Parliament.
GD took advantage of Vashadze's turn against his former party, stating that it clearly shows UNM has no intention to orient towards EU/NATO, but rather to destabilize Georgia. Additionally, the government threatens to not allow UNM to run in the next elections as the party is formally led by a criminal with a Ukrainian passport.
So UNM is a mess right now, and it clearly shows how they never recovered from Saakashvili's departure from politics. The party had put their hopes into Vashadze and David Bakradze - both have left UNM by now, Bakradze subsequently founded his own party, EG.
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Astatine ☢️
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« Reply #29 on: December 18, 2020, 07:15:24 AM »

GD has introduced a bill into Parliament that gives vibes of Saakashvili's attempts to undermine democracy in his second term. It includes the following demands:

- Stripping the boycotting opposition parties of their state funding
- Restricting political ad airtime for those parties
- Consideration of cancelling election registration for UNM

This is major blow and shows that GD is just as authoritarian as UNM used to be, with the only exception that GD has much more financial resources and already succeeded in all attempts of power-grabbing (unlike UNM, having been voted out).
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CumbrianLeftie
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« Reply #30 on: December 18, 2020, 07:58:13 AM »

GD has introduced a bill into Parliament that gives vibes of Saakashvili's attempts to undermine democracy in his second term. It includes the following demands:

- Stripping the boycotting opposition parties of their state funding
- Restricting political ad airtime for those parties
- Consideration of cancelling election registration for UNM

This is major blow and shows that GD is just as authoritarian as UNM used to be, with the only exception that GD has much more financial resources and already succeeded in all attempts of power-grabbing (unlike UNM, having been voted out).

And this is......surprising?
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Astatine ☢️
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« Reply #31 on: January 05, 2021, 01:53:34 AM »

The opposition parties have had some tough days. GD PM Gakha Gakaria was re-appointed to his office, and former EG candidate for mayor of Tbilisi - Elene Khoshtaria - left her party, announcing the creation of a new political force.

Same goes for Girchi: The party split into the People's Front of Judea and the Judean People's Fro... eh, into "Girchi" and "More Freedom Girchi". Their former presidential candidate and leader Zurab Japaridze had some personal feuds with the party's three other MPs (albeit none of them will take their seats as of now).
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Astatine ☢️
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« Reply #32 on: January 10, 2021, 03:55:47 PM »

Not only UNM, EG and Girchi are in disarray, but also APG: 3 of its 4 MPs requested the suspension of their seats, including party leader Irma Inashvili, but the successors on the list (including the remaining MP) all defected, leaving APG without representation in Parliament. The newly founded party is called European Socialist Party, and although it retains APG's position on economic and social policy, it took a U-turn on foreign policy and stands for further Western integration.
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Astatine ☢️
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« Reply #33 on: January 11, 2021, 03:35:03 AM »

Ivanishvili just resigned as GD leader to retire completely from politics.

We'll see how that plays out. GD is full of his protegées, and whenever he disapproved of someone, they were easily replaced. So we'll see what happens, but this is quite a bombshell announcement.
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Heat
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« Reply #34 on: January 11, 2021, 09:22:23 AM »

Not only UNM, EG and Girchi are in disarray, but also APG: 3 of its 4 MPs requested the suspension of their seats, including party leader Irma Inashvili, but the successors on the list (including the remaining MP) all defected, leaving APG without representation in Parliament. The newly founded party is called European Socialist Party, and although it retains APG's position on economic and social policy, it took a U-turn on foreign policy and stands for further Western integration.
APG had positions on economic policy to retain?
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CumbrianLeftie
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« Reply #35 on: January 11, 2021, 09:51:35 AM »

Ivanishvili just resigned as GD leader to retire completely from politics.

We'll see how that plays out. GD is full of his protegées, and whenever he disapproved of someone, they were easily replaced. So we'll see what happens, but this is quite a bombshell announcement.

Don't these totally personality based parties often collapse once the figurehead is gone?
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Astatine ☢️
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« Reply #36 on: January 11, 2021, 10:13:39 AM »

Ivanishvili just resigned as GD leader to retire completely from politics.

We'll see how that plays out. GD is full of his protegées, and whenever he disapproved of someone, they were easily replaced. So we'll see what happens, but this is quite a bombshell announcement.

Don't these totally personality based parties often collapse once the figurehead is gone?
Usually they do, although Ivanishvili already retired from politics for some time (2013-2018), but kept control of his party as éminence grise. I guess that will be the same this time around, and GD has a common enemy in the form of UNM. He will probably remain its largest donor as well.

Still, it is almost inevitable that some MPs will defect, but the majority will not be in danger.

Not only UNM, EG and Girchi are in disarray, but also APG: 3 of its 4 MPs requested the suspension of their seats, including party leader Irma Inashvili, but the successors on the list (including the remaining MP) all defected, leaving APG without representation in Parliament. The newly founded party is called European Socialist Party, and although it retains APG's position on economic and social policy, it took a U-turn on foreign policy and stands for further Western integration.
APG had positions on economic policy to retain?

You got me there Smiley
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Astatine ☢️
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« Reply #37 on: February 18, 2021, 08:14:47 AM »
« Edited: February 18, 2021, 03:17:35 PM by Astatine »

And here we go again with GD's attempts to power-grab: UNM Chairman Nika Melia was detained by court in Tbilisi. Melia was part of anti-governmental protests against their increasing authoritarianism in 2019 after which he was forced to wear a monitoring bracelet, which he removed last year somewhen.

His detention led to PM Giorgi Gakharia's resignation. He opposes the detention citing that it would increase polarization. Oppositionial politicians describe the actions as politically motivated.

With Maia Tskitishvili taking over as acting PM, Georgia is one out of two Republics worldwide (the other being Estonia), where both the incumbent President and Head of Government are female.

Ah, and Gakharia apparently left GD as well.

His successor has just been nominated, it's going to be Irakli Garibashvili, who succeeded Bidzina Ivanishvili in 2013 but resigned after two years in office. He made a comeback to the political stage in 2019 when he was appointed Secretary of Defence.
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Astatine ☢️
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« Reply #38 on: February 19, 2021, 08:26:34 PM »

The nomination of Irakli Garibashvili is a clear sign of the GD not aiming any compromises but fueling division. Garibashvili, a confidante of Ivanishvili, had a quite tumultuous term as PM:

- He is a hardliner when it comes to opposing UNM, calling them a criminal organization (well, not necessarily wrong), proposing to erase them from the political radar and condoning violence against them.
- He accused UNM of organizing LGBT marches to undermine Georgian society and said that the oppositional TV channel Rustavi 2 is complotting with UNM in promoting sodomy.
- He actively tried to purge Ivanishvili critics from GD and the government coalition, leading to the Free Democratic Party returning to the opposition benches.
- Members of his family are accused of corruption and bribery, such as his father-in-law who was head of a police district.
- Under his government, the presidential office was stripped of any responsibilities since President Giorgi Margvelashvili did not end up being an Ivanishvili puppet.
- When he served as Interior Minister, a revenge porn video of an illegally recorded gay threesome was leaked, leading to the resignation of a government critical chief prosecutor only to replace him with a close ally of Garibashvili, who is a GD consultant now.

He was such a terrible PM that GD dropped from 65 % in polling (November 2013) to 21 % (December 2015), 12 % behind UNM. He resigned after intra-party pressure and was replaced with Giorgi Kvirikashvili, under whom GD stabilized again and went on to win a 2nd term in government.

His appointment is nothing but a provocation but meanwhile Ivanishvili puppet President Salome Zurabishvili continues to call for "unity" and an "end of division". She's a bit like Kevin McCarthy in that matter.

With Garibashvili back as head of government soon, short-time acting PM Maia Tskitishvili announced not to be part of the incoming government.
Giorgi Gakharia's farewell post on Facebook received over 128 thousand likes (remember: Georgia has a population of about 3.5 million, so that's quite a lot!) and he gets lots of praise for his resignation which is often described as courageous, even by opposition politicians. I wouldn't wonder if he started an own political project that could actually be successful in defining itself as serious opposition to an increasingly authoritarian GD (since he made a clear cut) and a corrupt UNM along with its splinter parties.
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Astatine ☢️
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« Reply #39 on: February 23, 2021, 06:49:57 AM »

UNM leader Nika Melia has been forcefully arrested this morning (after he was set free on demand of Giorgi Gakharia just before tendering his resignation) together with 21 UNM officials, just shortly after Irakli Garibashvili was formally confirmed as PM. He also announced that the GD will not seek any compromise deals with "the radical opposition".

Garibashvili's successor as PM, Giorgi Kvirikashvili, and former foreign minister Mikhail Janelidze criticized the arrest and called their own party to consider snap elections.

Welcome to a new chapter of "Georgia in disarray"!
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Flyersfan232
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« Reply #40 on: February 23, 2021, 10:36:26 AM »

UNM leader Nika Melia has been forcefully arrested this morning (after he was set free on demand of Giorgi Gakharia just before tendering his resignation) together with 21 UNM officials, just shortly after Irakli Garibashvili was formally confirmed as PM. He also announced that the GD will not seek any compromise deals with "the radical opposition".

Garibashvili's successor as PM, Giorgi Kvirikashvili, and former foreign minister Mikhail Janelidze criticized the arrest and called their own party to consider snap elections.

Welcome to a new chapter of "Georgia in disarray"!
the monarchy should be restored.
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Astatine ☢️
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« Reply #41 on: February 23, 2021, 10:53:24 AM »

UNM leader Nika Melia has been forcefully arrested this morning (after he was set free on demand of Giorgi Gakharia just before tendering his resignation) together with 21 UNM officials, just shortly after Irakli Garibashvili was formally confirmed as PM. He also announced that the GD will not seek any compromise deals with "the radical opposition".

Garibashvili's successor as PM, Giorgi Kvirikashvili, and former foreign minister Mikhail Janelidze criticized the arrest and called their own party to consider snap elections.

Welcome to a new chapter of "Georgia in disarray"!
the monarchy should be restored.
Nah, Georgia is going a step backwards already, she doesn't need to go two.
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