In a statement made for the press and then in an address to supporters shortly after the polls closed in Sunday’s municipal elections, PM and leader of GD ruling coalition, Irakli Garibashvili, said “democratic elections” were a success for the entire country and congratulated GD “candidates on victory”.
Two separate exit polls, commissioned by two Tbilisi-based private television stations, showed Georgian Dream ruling coalition’s candidate, Davit Narmania, is leading in the race for Tbilisi mayoral office. But exit poll, commissioned by Rustavi 2 TV to GfK, predicts that Narmania is falling short of clear majority (46%) to avoid the second round runoff. Another exit poll, commissioned by Imedi TV to Tbilisi polling firm ACT, gave Narmania 52.6%. Both of the exit polls have a margin of error 3%. Early official results will only be available after 2am on Monday.
“I want to congratulate Georgia on holding free, open and transparent democratic elections. It is very important for our country’s democratic development,” said PM Garibashvili standing alongside other GD leaders in the coalition’s Tbilisi headquarters.
“I also want to congratulate on victory to our candidates and their supporters. As of 8pm our candidate Davit Narmania won in the first round. That is according to results that we heard [from exit polls] by 8pm. Now we have to wait for final results,” he said.
“With today’s victory our coalition has confirmed that we are the force which really has no alternative. Despite an unprecedented high threshold [50% set for election of mayors in the first round] and fair competition, we have won convincingly. It means that democratic changes launched by us in 2012 are the only right way of development,” he said.
I assure you that the today’s choice is an unconditional guarantee of our country’s progress. We will together bring our country to a real wellbeing.”
“It is very important for us that elections were held without serious violations. Election administration and the police promptly reacted to incidents and minor shortcomings… I want to thank the Central Election Commission for well-organized work,” Garibashvili said and also thanked local and international observer groups.
“With these elections our government has confirmed once again irreversibility of democratic reforms. We have taken another step towards Europe and showed to the world that our country is ready to become a full-fledged member of the civilized world.”
“According to exit poll results the Georgian Dream won in all the large cities… I want to congratulate everyone on these elections, because this is the victory of not only the Georgian Dream coalition but of entire Georgia. This is the day when the entire population of the country should get united for the better future of our country,” Garibashvili said.
Then he addressed supporters outside the GD headquarters and congratulated them on “holding of genuinely democratic elections.”
“According to early results of exit polls, as for now, the Georgian Dream coalition is in lead everywhere throughout Georgia. Now we have to wait for final results,” he said and then introduced GD’s mayoral candidate Davit Narmania as “Tbilisi mayor” – he was introducing Narmania as “future Tbilisi mayor” during GD’s campaign events in the lead up to Sunday’s local elections.
“We will continue building the state with renewed energy from tomorrow. Georgia will never go back and will never live in lies,” Narmania told supporters.
When asked if he was already considering himself as Tbilisi mayor based on results of one of the exit polls, Narmania told Maestro TV: “Vote count is underway and it’s up to CEC to deliver final results. But according to credible exit poll results and our public opinion surveys we have cleared threshold” of 50% that is needed to be declared an outright winner of the race without requiring second round.