Georgia’s ruling party is ahead in elections held a day after the arrest of former President Mikheil Saakashvili, who returned from exile to support the opposition.
The Georgian Dream Party (Dream Party) won 46.7 percent of the vote, while the United National Movement (UNM) founded by Saakashvili won 30.7 percent, according to results released by the Georgia Electoral Administration on Sunday. A total of 99.97 percent of the votes have been counted.
In Georgia’s capital, Tbilisi, incumbent Mayor Kakha Kaladze won 45 percent of the vote. Meanwhile, the head of UNM who is the opposition stronghold, Nika Melia, received 34 percent. Since no candidate won more than 50 percent, the city will hold a second round of voting on October 30.
Melia was jailed for three months earlier this year on charges of inciting violence. He denied the allegations and called the allegations politically motivated. His release in May was part of an EU -mediated agreement aimed at resolving the political crisis in Georgia.
The election held on Saturday (2/10) was overshadowed by the return and arrest of Saakashvili, who ruled the country from 2004-2007 and 2008-2013. He had previously lived in segregation and was found guilty of departmental violations in 2018.
Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili said on Sunday that Saakashvili would serve a six-year sentence in prison. (vm/pp)