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Live updates: Exit polls give strong lead to Georgian Dream

31 October 2020
Electoral Commission workers prepare to open a polling station in Tbilisi´s Mtatsminda. Photo: Mariam Nikuradze/OC Media

Georgians are going to the polls today to elect a new parliament. These will be the last elections held under the mixed system, with opposition groups hoping to foil the ruling party’s plan for a historic third term.

Changes to the electoral system passed in June mean there will be more MPs elected proportionally during this election than in the past, with only 30 elected to majoritarian constituencies.

The change has bolstered opposition hopes of denying Georgian Dream the 76 out of 150 seats needed to form a government, as the majoritarian component of the system has traditionally benefited the party in power. The changes also introduced a 40.5% vote share requirement for any party to form a government alone.

Alternatively, the results could trigger the need for a coalition government, also unprecedented since the country restored independence over 29 years ago.

Majoritarian seats where no candidate garners a majority of votes will go to run-offs on 21 November between the top two candidates. 

Read more about the campaign: Georgians prepare for historic parliamentary vote

Other stories from the campaign:

If you witness any electoral violations, you can send us your stories, photos, and videos via Facebook, Twitter, or email at [email protected].

01 Nov 2020, 04:02

01 Nov 2020, 03:32

Preliminary results give GD 55%

The first preliminary results with votes counted from 28% of polling stations give Georgian Dream 55%, with the UNM trailing on 24%. European Georgia received 4%. 

The results so far would see seven parties enter parliament on the party lists, with Aleko Elisashvili’s Citizens Party, the Georgian Labour Party, and Nino Burjanadze’s United Georgia all falling short of the 1% threshold.

  • Georgian dream — 54.72%
  • UNM — 23.61%
  • European Georgia — 3.99%
  • Lelo — 2.66%
  • Girchi — 1.91%
  • Strategy Aghmashnebeli — 2.46%
  • Alliance of Patriots — 3.34%
  • Citizens — 0.93%
  • Labour Party — 0.92%
  • United Georgia — 0.73%

13 May 2021, 22:49

Discrepancies in several polling station protocols 

The voting protocols from several polling stations throughout Georgia do not correctly add up. OC Media has discovered discrepancies in five protocols from four polling stations so far.

In one protocol from the Abasha-Martvili-Tsalenjikha-Chkhorotsku electoral district in western Georgia, five votes were recorded for the Georgian Dream candidate, one for the UNM’s, and 12 ballots were ruled invalid. However, the protocol stated that a total of 65 votes were cast. It was signed by 11 members of the local election commission.

31 Oct 2020, 23:39

Mtavari/IPSOS majoritarian exit polls

TV channel Matavari Arkhi has released exit polls for the country’s 30 majoritarian seats. In constituencies where no candidate gains over 50% of the vote, a runoff will take place on 21 November.

The results suggest that Georgian Dream will win eight of the thirty constituencies outright, and the UNM two.

If the poll is accurate the other 20 seats will go to a runoff between the leading two candidates. 

In these, Georgian Dream’s candidates won the most votes in 12, and the UNM’s in 5. 

European Georgia’s Elene Khoshtaria came out on top in Vake with 47% of the vote, according to the poll as did her colleague  Shalva Shavgulidze with 46% in Mtatsminda.

Girchi’s Zurab Girchi Japaridze came out on top in Tbilisi’s Didube-Chughureti with  35%.

31 Oct 2020, 22:48

Rustavi 2/Survation updated exit poll 

Rustavi 2 have released an updated exit poll:

  • Georgian Dream —51.36%
  • UNM —25.38%
  • European Georgia —4.20%
  • Labour Party —1.23%
  • Lelo —2.94%
  • Strategy Aghmashnebeli —2.47%
  • Alliance of Patriots — 2.36%
  • Girchi —3.65%
  • Citizens —1.11%

31 Oct 2020, 22:10

Turnout at 20:00: 56.11%

Turnout as polls closed at 20:00 was 56.11%. In the previous parliamentary elections in 2016 turnout was 51.63% at 20:00.

31 Oct 2020, 21:17

Saakashvili: I’ll be back

‘If they will go for violations, I am ready to engage in this fight till the end by physically being present there [in Georgia]’, former president and UNM head Mikheil Saakashvili has said. 

‘I don’t choose confrontation with anyone. We are children of one nation. Let's conduct a peaceful transition process. They went through it with us’, he said. 

‘We are ready to constructively cooperate. I guarantee there will be no repressions against any member of the former government. No one will touch public service employees, moreover.’ 

31 Oct 2020, 21:10

Government and opposition both celebrate exit polls

Both the ruling Georgian Dream party and United National Movement (UNM), the largest opposition group, have met the closing of the polls with celebrations.

Bidzina Ivanishvili, the Chair of Georgian Dream, congratulated the supporters minutes after preliminary exit poll results came in at 20:00 

‘Official results have not been announced yet. However, we already know that today the citizens of Georgia have won’, Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia wrote on his Facebook page.

A UNM supporter celebbrates outside parliament. Photo: Mariam Nikuradze/OC Media.

Lelo, a newcomer to politics which according to preliminary polls have passed the 1% threshold to enter parliament, called on supporters to monitor closely the vote count to prevent ‘rigging’.

‘Let’s avoid both celebrations and mournings‘, Davit Usupashvili, placed third in Lelo’s party list told journalists, adding that more data was needed to have a clear picture.

Giorgi Vashadze, the prime-ministerial candidate from the coalition bloc Strategy Aghmashenebeli who garnered 3% or less in preliminary exit polls, called the numbers ‘inadequate’ and also called for people to ‘defend the vote’.

31 Oct 2020, 21:06

Exit polls interactive chart

31 Oct 2020, 20:19

Imedi TV/Public Opinion Strategies exit poll 

  • Georgian dream — 55%
  • UNM — 23%
  • European Georgia — 3%
  • Labour Party — 1%
  • Lelo — 3%
  • Strategy Aghmashnebeli — 3%
  • Alliance of Patriots — 3%
  • Girchi — 3%
  • Citizens —  1%
  • United Georgia — 1%
  • Other — 4%

31 Oct 2020, 20:14

Rustavi 2/Survation exit poll 

  • Georgian Dream —52.26%
  • UNM —25.33%
  • European Georgia —4.2%
  • Labour Party —1.22%
  • Lelo —2.61%
  • Strategy Aghmashnebeli —2.37%
  • Alliance of Patriots —2.29%
  • Girchi —3.52%
  • Citizens —1.02%

31 Oct 2020, 20:12

Formula TV/Edison Research exit poll 

  • Georgian dream — 46%
  • UNM — 28%
  • European Georgia — 5%
  • Lelo — 3%
  • Girchi — 3%
  • Strategy Aghmashnebeli —2%
  • Alliance of Patriots — 2%
  • Citizens - 1%
  • Labour Party — 1%

31 Oct 2020, 20:00

Mtavari/IPSOS exit poll 

  • Georgian dream — 41%
  • UNM — 33%
  • European Georgia — 5%
  • Labour Party — 2%
  • Lelo — 4%
  • Strategy Aghmashnebeli — 3%
  • Alliance of Patriots — 3%
  • Girchi — 3
  • Citizens — 1%
  • United Georgia — 1%
  • Other - 5%

31 Oct 2020, 19:46

UNM prepare for demonstration outside parliament

A stage has been erected and people have begun to gather outside the parliament building in Tbilisi. The opposition United National Movement party have called for a demonstration starting when polls close at 20:00.

Photo: Robin Fabbro/OC Media.

Police have already begun to gather and yellow busses, often used by police to block roads during protests, have been brought to the State Secutiry Service office next door to parliament.

Photo: Robin Fabbro/OC Media.

Georgian Dream supporters will gather less than a kilometre away outside the party’s headquarters. 

31 Oct 2020, 18:33

Public broadcaster hit by cyberattack

A cyberattack on the servers of the Georgian Public Broadcaster’s First Channel has taken the channel offline. 

A statement by the Public Broadcaster said the attack had likely damaged their central server. The channel said they were in the process of switching to a backup system to resume broadcasting. 

31 Oct 2020, 18:20

Turnout at 17:00: 45.77%

At 17:00, three hours before polls close, turnout was 45.77%. At the same time during the 2016 parliamentary elections turnout was 42.04%. 

31 Oct 2020, 17:31

Journalists hurt in brawl in Tbilisi’s Gldani

A brawl has broken out between supporters of Georgian Dream and the United National Movement in Tbilisi’s Gldani District.

One man kicked Mindia Gabadze, a journalist from online outlet Publika, while a reporter from TV channel Pirveli, Ana Akhalaia, sustained a head injury. 

There was a heavy police response outside the 79th polling station and Tbilisi Police chief Vazha Siradze said they had arrested five individuals.

Gldani has been among the most hotly contested seats, with leading UNM member Nika Melia running against Levan Kobiashvili for Georgian Dream.

Online outlet On.ge also reported that their journalist was prevented from doing her work while enquiring about a man who was allegedly armed at a polling station in Marneuli Municipality.

The Media Advocacy Coalition called on police to investigate the incidents without delay and to ensure media workers’ safety. 

31 Oct 2020, 17:17

Elene Khoshtaria speaks of violations

Elene Khoshtaria, who is running for European Georgia in Tbilisi’s Vake District, has accused the government of electoral violations.

Elene Khoshtaria in a polling station in Vake. Photo: Tamuna Chkareuli/OC Media.

'Despite attempted manipulations from Georgian Dream — they tear off Number 2 [European Georgia’s electoral number] from the ballot papers, they distribute money, there are cases of violence — everyone should understand that the citizens and their activity will determine how our country will develop’, she said. 

‘We have quite a realistic chance for changes; changes that every citizen will feel.'

31 Oct 2020, 16:38

Watchdogs reprimand opposition member for carrying a pistol

Rights groups the Georgian Young Lawyers Association (GYLA), Transparency International Georgia, and the Human Rights Centre have separately castigated UNM member and former official Dimitri Shashkini for carrying a pistol after TV channel Rustavi 2 reported about it.

Image via Rustavi 2.

Shashkini, who is listed 38th on the UNM/Strength in Unity party-list confirmed he carried a pistol in Bolnisi Municipality today but added that he had a permit and needed it for self-defence. 

‘Members of political parties should do nothing to intimidate voters’, Transparency Internationals head Eka Gigauri said.

31 Oct 2020, 16:31

Authorities ‘probe’ six possible violations

According to Deputy Interior Minister Nino Tsatsiashvili, they have launched six investigations based on reports of violations from the media and watchdog groups. 

These include attacks on UNM activist in Tbilisi and on the mayoral candidate from the Labour Party in Kutaisi. 

In parallel to the parliamentary vote, Georgians in five municipalities, including Kutaisi, are choosing their mayor in special elections. 

The deputy minister also said violent incidents that took place in two polling stations of Marneuli Municipality are among the probes.

31 Oct 2020, 16:18

Turnout at 15:00: 36.34%

Turnout at 15:00 was 36.34%, up slightly from 34.79% at the same time in 2016.

31 Oct 2020, 16:21

Patriarch calls for government and opposition to cooperate

The Patriarch of the Georgian Orthodox Church, Ilia II, has called on the government and opposition to work together, after voting using a mobile ballot box. 

'I want to address the government and the opposition to cooperate, to listen to each other, let's learn to listen. I look at the future with hope. May God bless Georgia and the world', he said. 

Photo via IPN.

He also called for all Georgians to go out and vote. 

31 Oct 2020, 15:43

Khazaradze votes from hospital

Lelo Party leader Mamuka Khazaradze has cast his ballot in a mobile ballot box delivered to him in hospital.

Mamuka Khazaradze casting his vote from hospital.

Khazaradze confirmed he had contracted coronavirus on 18 October but remained engaged in the campaign online. 

Lelo’s leader is among 7,150 voters who are participating in the election today in hospitals or quarantine zones, including medical staff.

31 Oct 2020, 15:32

Pollster.ge forecast

In their final election forecast on 28 October, Pollster.ge predicted a 42% vote share for Georgian Dream. Their model predicted that the next largest party would be the UNM with 26% of the vote.

Image via Pollster.ge.

The model used a weighted average of opinion polling so far during the campaign.

Image via Pollster.ge

If the forecast is accurate, the election could hinge on Georgian Dream’s ability to win most of the majoritarian constituencies in order to maintain a majority in parliament. It also suggests that they are unlikely to win a constitutional majority as they did in 2016.

The model also suggests that parliament will be far more diverse than in the past thanks to the changes to the electoral system.

31 Oct 2020, 14:18

Lack of consistency in coronavirus measures

There appears to be a somewhat confused implementation of anti-coronavirus measures at polling stations so far.

According to the rules, voters should be required to remove their face masks twice to be identified, upon entering the polling station and again when registering. The measure has not been consistently enforced with reports of voters not being asked to do so or being identified only once.

Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia removing his mask to be identified. Photo: Mariam Nikuradze/OC Media.

Soical distancing has also been mixed, with some polling stations more effective than others.

Social distancing measures were not strictly enforced at this polling station in Vake. Photo: Tamuna Chkareuli/OC Media.

Thermal screening was not supposed to be required for voters before entering a polling station, but some local electoral commissions have done so. This included a polling station in the #170 school in Tbilis’s Vake District where voters were screened before entering.

In another polling station in Mtatsminda, a member of the electoral commission was reprimanded by another for attempting to screen voters, with the measure reportedly reserved for staff and observers.

President Salome Zurabishvili being thermally screened before entering to vote. Photo: Mariam Nikuradze/OC Media.

It is unclear if voters with high temperatures have been turned away.

31 Oct 2020, 13:53

ISFED: Voter secrecy and party coordinators still a problem

Election watchdog ISFED have identified violations of voter secrecy as among the biggest problems so far. ISFED reported cases of voters coming out of cabins with unfolded ballot papers visible to others inside polling stations. 

A voting cabin in Tbilisi. Photo: Mariam Nikuradze/OC Media.

ISFED also said that the presence of coordinators keeping a record of party supporters showing up to vote outside the polling stations persisted as a problem. 

While it is not considered as a violation unless the movement of a voter is impeded by someone within 25 metres of the polling station, most watchdog groups consider this a form of voter pressure.

31 Oct 2020, 13:44

Turnout at 12:00: 19.41%

Turnout at 12:00 was 19.41%. In 2016, turnout at 12:00 was 19.81%.

31 Oct 2020, 13:08

Turnout at 10:00: 8.33% 

Turnout at 10:00 this morning was 8.33%, with over 290,00 voters already casting their ballots, the Central Election Commission (CEC) has announced. At the same time in 2016’s parliamentary elections, turnout was almost identical at 8.34%.

31 Oct 2020, 12:49

Head of UNM list goes to wrong polling station

Vakhtang Kikabidze, who is number one on the electoral list of the United National Movement-led coalition, Strength in Unity, went to the wrong polling station to vote today. 

Kikabidze, a famous actor and singer whose work included a leading role in classic Soviet film Mimino, was a surprise last-minute announcement to top the list.

Vakhtang Kikabidze. Photo: Metronome.

Radio Tavisupleba reported that Kikabidze later tried to skip the queue into another polling station, causing protest from others in line. 

Giorgi Vashadze, who leads Strategy Aghmashenebeli, also skipped the line this morning. 

31 Oct 2020, 12:39

Kaladze: Great chance to win all 30 majoritarian seats outright

Georgian Dream General Secretary and Mayor of Tbilisi Kakha Kaladze has said he has grounds to believe the party will win all 30 majoritarian seats outright without requiring a runoff election.

Kakha Kaladze voting with his son. Photo: Tata Shoshiashvili/OC Media.

‘We base that on many factors: Firstly, on people’s mood and attitude. We have held a lot of meetings in all districts, we have been in every city as part of the election campaign’, he said. 

‘Secondly, polls that have been published on various television stations also give me grounds to think so. However, this is not the main thing. The main thing is the mood in society, the attitude.’

‘I mentioned yesterday and I will repeat once again that the only political force in the country that has a vision of how to develop the country, how to maintain stability, peace, and achieve economic development as quickly as possible, is the Georgian Dream — Democratic Georgia.’

31 Oct 2020, 12:02

Vashadze: Today must be a turning point

Giorgi Vashadze, the leader of the newly formed Strategy Aghmashenebeli Party, has said the ‘the opposition should win this election’.

Giorgi Vashadze speaking with journalists after voting in Tbilisi's Vake District. Photo: Shota Kincha/OC Media.

'Today must be a turning point for Georgia's development,’ he added.

Polling data suggests Strategy Aghmashenebeli has stood out as one of the most successful of the parties formed ahead of this election.

31 Oct 2020, 10:41

Gakharia praises democratic campaign

Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia has praised the democratic nature of the election campaign.

Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia casting his ballot. Photo: Mariam Nikuradze/OC Media.

'No one can imagine going back to the past’, he said after voting. ‘I voted for the future.' 

'I voted for Georgia that is much better today than it was yesterday and tomorrow will be much better than it is today'.

31 Oct 2020, 10:13

Ivanishvili rules out coalition

The chair of the ruling Georgian Dream Party, Bidzina Ivanishvili, has ruled out entering a coalition, IPN reports.

He predicted that his party would win think 55%–60% of the vote, gaining 100 out of 150 seats, citing internal party surveys.

Independent polling has suggested a much tighter race.

31 Oct 2020, 09:20

President Zurabishvili urges voters to brave the pandemic

President Salome Zurabishvili has urged people to go out and vote despite the pandemic, insisting safety measures are being followed.

Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili casting her ballot. Photo: Mariam Nikuradze/OC Media.

‘Today, all of us vote to build the country that we all dream of. This is a European democratic country’ Zurabishvili said after casting her ballot in Tbilisi’s Mtatsminda District.

31 Oct 2020, 08:00

Polls open

Polls have opened throughout the country as Georgians vote for a new parliament.

A polling station in Tbilisi. Photo: Mariam Nikuradze/OC Media.

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