The opposition United National Movement, whose mayoral candidates qualified for second round races in Kutaisi and Martvili, decided to withdraw from runoffs, the party’s political council announced on October 23.
“The United National Movement will not run in violently-held runoffs… I believe that all opposition parties should withdraw and with that, refuse to accept Bidzina Ivanishvili’s rules of the game,” said MP Nika Melia, one of the party leaders.
The decision was endorsed by Grigol Vashadze and Mamuka Danelia, the party’s mayoral candidates in Kutaisi and Martvili, who garnered 27.04% and 35.81% of votes, respectively.
MP Salome Samadashvili of the United National Movement slammed the political council decision as “a mistake.” “It is a missed political opportunity,” she said in her Facebook post, adding that the party should have channeled all of its resources towards the runoffs to better demonstrate the extent of “vote fraud.”
According to the election code, candidates cannot officially withdraw from runoff elections. CEC spokesperson, Ana Mikeladze, explained that “if a candidate decides to pull out the race, his or her name will still appear on the ballot paper.”
Mayoral races are set to go into second round polls in six municipalities across the country, according to preliminary results of the October 21 municipal elections.
According to the electoral code, the runoffs will be held before November 15, no later than the 25th day after the first round of elections.