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UNM Rallies Outside CEC, Vows to ‘Defend Votes’
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 9 Oct.'16 / 05:28

Claiming that the authorities are trying to “steal elections”, opposition UNM party called on supporters to rally outside the Central Election Commission.

UNM leaders and supporters started gathering at the CEC at about 3am on Sunday, about seven hours after the polling stations were closed in the October 8 parliamentary elections.

With returns from more than third of precincts, early official results show ruling GDDG party in big lead with more than 51% of votes, followed by UNM with over 25%; Patriot of Alliance falls short of 5% threshold required for a party to win seats in the Parliament under the proportional, party-list system.

“Votes have been stolen from us and now they [authorities] are telling us that Ivanishvili has more than 50 percent of support… We will defend our votes to the end,” Nika Melia, UNM’s chief of campaign and MP candidate, told protesters outside the CEC, which was cordoned off by police shortly after the opposition party announced plans to rally outside the election administration.

Claiming that the UNM has “won this election”, Melia also said that “struggle goes into a decisive phase.”

UNM MP Giorgi Baramidze said that “struggle will be uncompromising.”

UNM has accused ruling GDDG party of trying thwarting vote count process in those polling stations where the opposition party claims it is winning.

Two polling stations in the village of Jikhashkari of Zugdidi municipality in Samegrelo region were raided late on Saturday night after vote count started.

UNM MP Sergo Ratiani has alleged that the CEC is releasing vote tally protocols “selectively” – from those polling stations where GDDG is leading in order to create a false impression that the ruling party is winning in overall vote count.

UNM leaders demanded a meeting with CEC chairperson Tamar Zhvania, who agreed and met UNM’s Giga Bokeria, Davit Bakradze and Nika Melia in early hours of Sunday.

“There is no sense in speaking with them,” Bokeria said after the meeting. “We are now going to hold consultations within the party on our further protest steps.”

77 seats in 150-member parliament are up for grabs under the proportional system.

73 majoritarian MP seats are contested in 73 single-mandate constituencies.

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