Ruling Party Claims Victory in Georgia

Ruling Party Claims Victory in GeorgiaRuling Party Claims Victory in Georgia

Georgians voted in parliamentary elections that have sparked fears of political instability in the former Soviet state.

Georgia’s election commission said the ruling party is ahead but many votes remain to be counted. Preliminary results from Georgia’s parliamentary election on Saturday show the ruling Georgian Dream Party with a commanding lead.

With 22% of voting stations reporting, the Georgian Dream Party has 52.7%, compared with nearly 25% for the opposition United National Movement, according to the head of the Central Election Commission, Tamar Zhvania, AFP reported.

Even before the CEC released its preliminary results, the pro-western Georgian Dream Party declared victory in the country of 3.7 million shortly after the polls closed.

“I congratulate you with a big victory, Georgia!” Prime Minister Georgy Kvirikashvili told jubilant supporters gathered outside the party’s headquarters in the capital, Tbilisi.

“According to all preliminary results, Georgian Dream is leading with a big advantage,” he said, as dozens of party members waved blue party flags and balloons.

Exit polls released before the CEC announcement were far apart on the Georgian Dream Party lead. 

One poll had the incumbents pulling in 54% versus just 19.5 for the leading opposition party. However, an exit poll from the independent channel Rustav-2 gave Georgian Dream a much narrower lead over the UNM - 39.9 to 32.7% .

“The real winner today is the Georgian people, but according to our information, we got 58-59% of the vote,” Deputy Prime Minister Kakha Kaladze told Reuters.

Georgian Dream, led from behind the scenes by billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili, faced a strong challenge by the UNM, founded by former president, Mikheil Saakashvili, who came to power in the pro-western Rose Revolution in 2003 before losing to Georgian Dream in 2013.

Saakashvili fled Georgia after being indicted on corruption charges. He’s currently in exile as an appointed regional governor in Ukraine.

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