President Saakashvili has acknowledged that his ruling UNM party lost in a party-list, proportional race to the Georgian Dream opposition coalition, but claimed victory in most of the 73 single-mandate majoritarian constituencies.
He said that while vote counting was still underway it was clear that the elections were valid and despite of “dirty” campaign in lead up to the October 1 parliamentary elections, now “we should all manage to work together.”
After the exit poll results were announced, giving the Georgian Dream lead over the UNM in party-list contest, Bidzina Ivanishvili-led coalition supporters launched celebrating victory. UNM, however, claimed that its majoritarian MP candidates were in lead in at least 53 out of 73 single-mandate constituencies in the provinces; UNM claims that at the expense of winning most of the majoritarian races it will retain majority.
No official results are yet available from the Central Election Commission (CEC), which is expected to start releasing early results after 3am on October 2.
Georgia has a mixed system in which 73 lawmakers out of 150 are elected in 73 majoritarian, single-mandate constituencies and rest 77 seats are allocated proportionally under the party-list contest among political parties and election blocs, which clear 5% threshold.
Below are President Saakashvili’s remarks after exit poll results were announced:
“Dear compatriots! As you know, absolute majority of us cast ballot in the parliamentary elections today. First of all, I want to thank everyone, who went to polling stations today and expressed their political will, their vision about Georgia’s nearest and long-term future under the conditions of full freedom and transparent elections, as we have promised.
The votes are still being counted and we will need at least several more hours before we have a full picture; but based on the exit polls it can be said already now that coalition Georgian Dream took an advantage in the proportional race, but as far as majoritarian [single-mandate] constituencies are concerned, as it seems, the United National Movement has a significant advantage.
The election system is arranged in Georgia so that [seats] in Parliament are divided in two – slightly over a half [of MPs] takes seats under the proportional system and almost one half gains mandates under the majoritarian system. It is done to ensure that all regions, all small districts of Georgia in their historical borders are represented [in the Parliament], to make the votes of all the Georgian citizens… be heard in the Georgian government and Parliament,”
Results should have yet to be counted and it should be defined, who will have the majority in the Parliament. But according to the picture that we already have it is quite clear that the elections are valid; the members of the Parliament should take their seats and get involved in the democratic process.
One thing should be noted when we are looking at the election results: the Georgian Dream’s advantage in proportional race is mainly based on those votes which this coalition garnered in the Georgian capital Tbilisi.
But outside Tbilisi, actually in all the regions the United National Movement is in lead with large margin. But it does not mean that we are dividing the country into Tbilisi and provinces. We are all Georgians, we are all citizens of our country. We should all stand together and we should all manage to work together in frames of existing democracy despite the fact that the election campaign was tense, emotional, and unfortunately often dirty too; but this should be left behind and we should manage to represent the interests of all citizens of all regions of Georgia in the new Parliament.
As the President, I am a guarantor, that transfer from [incumbent] Parliament to the new one will take place painlessly in frames of the constitution and democracy and I am sure that the new Parliament will manage to make useful decisions for the country within the nearest months.”