A new, Moscow-tolerant player looks set to enter parliament in Georgia after barely clearing the bar in the October 8 elections. Meanwhile, leaders of the country’s fervently pro-Western United National Movement are debating whether to boycott the 150-seat legislature.
The elections left parliament firmly in the hands of the ruling Georgian Dream party, with 48.65 percent of the vote. While not a majority, the party is expected to make further gains in 51 runoff races, to be held before November 2.
Ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili’s United National Movement, which lost power to the Georgian Dream in 2012, finished a distant second, with 27.12 percent of voters’ support, according to preliminary results. It has denounced the election as rigged, and currently is divided over whether or not to stay out of parliament.
Saakashvili, now a Ukrainian regional governor, favors a boycott, telling the UNM to hold consultations before accepting the official results and participating in the runoffs. On Facebook, one senior UNM MP, Elene Khoshtaria, described a boycott as “suicidal,” however.
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Giorgi Lomsadze is a freelance journalist and a frequent contributor to EurasiaNet.org's Tamada Tales blog.