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Georgian opposition to protest against election fraud


Georgian opposition to protest against election fraud

Screen Shot 2020 11 13 at 12 46 40 PM
David Mdzinarishvili/TASS/ Getty Images

Georgian opposition leaders have called for large-scale demonstrations today in response to the nation’s recent parliamentary elections.

In October, the ruling pro-Russian Georgian Dream party (GD) earned 48% of the vote and a majority of seats, narrowly beating out the opposition pro-European United National Movement (UNM) and smaller opposition parties. In an unprecedented move prior to the election, exiled former president Mikheil Saakashvili, UNM’s founder, agreed to form a coalition with the smaller opposition parties if they won. The GD’s victory sparked opposition allegations of widespread voter fraud, leaving the Central Election Committee and parliament as the target of daily protests.

Today’s demonstrations, which carry the risk of spreading COVID-19, are expected to top last Sunday’s 45,000-strong gathering and demonstrate widespread dissent against the ruling GD. The government has used increasingly oppressive measures to quell the protests that have called for free and fair elections.

If turnout is as high as expected, the government will have a difficult time peacefully containing the crowd. Violence, last seen in 2019, is increasingly likely. The GD party staying in power will strengthen Georgia’s alignment with Russia, which a majority of the population is opposed to.

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