Georgia’s ruling party wins mayoral elections in major cities
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TBILISI, Georgia (AP) – Georgia’s National Election Commission said ruling party candidates won mayoral elections in the country’s five largest cities, but the opposition is denouncing the fraud.
The almost complete results announced on Sunday by the Central Election Commission showed that the Georgian Dream party won votes in the capital Tbilisi, Kutaisi, Rustavi, Poti and Batumi.
Saturday’s second round of elections came after no candidate won an absolute majority in cities in the first round of national municipal elections on October 2.
Nika Melia, leader of the main opposition party, United National Movement and candidate for mayor of Tbilisi, asserted that “the victories won by the opposition in many municipalities have been won … as if they never happened” .
The elections were clouded by the arrest on the eve of the first round of former President Mikheil Saakashvili, the founder of the UNM.
Saakashvili left Georgia in 2013 and was found guilty in absentia of abuse of power and sentenced to six years. He returned to Georgia from his home in Ukraine, hoping to strengthen opposition in the first round of voting, but was arrested during the day.
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